METHVEN UPDATE ON SALE OF THE CLUB. STID PROMO NEWS


Charlie Methven has broken his silence ahead of the release of Sunderland ‘Til I Die Season 2 and has also given an update on the sale of the club. He said: “The discussion about the future of the club is ongoing and while recent events have slowed it down a little bit obviously because people have got other things to deal with in day-to-day businesses and day-to-day lives, it hasn’t really had – as yet – a material impact. Anyone who is going to be buying Sunderland football club from us is someone who is buying it for the long term, not the next two months, three months, whatever it might be. As things stand right now, there are well-progressed and productive discussions taking place with potential new owners of the club and Stewart has always said he hopes to have that issue sorted by the end of this season. That’s our aim and it’s not entirely in our control. The people who are in discussions have to make their own decisions as to whether they want to do it or not, just as we did two years ago. Us buying the club wasn’t in Ellis Short’s control, that had to ultimately be in our control. As things stand here right now we still believe the club will be in new hands by the end of May.” Methven was also keen to thank Sunderland fans for sticking with the club. “Just huge gratitude for the support that we were shown when we asked for everyone to group together and get together to save their club. Ultimately, whatever some people might think, that club is now turned around, and that club has been turned around by Sunderland fans. If Sunderland fans hadn’t turned up to watch their team, if they hadn’t gone out to buy the jerseys, hadn’t shown the support they have shown then the club would’ve been in a really bad place. When we put the call out saying ‘please come and help us save your club’ they answered that call. You just can’t say fairer than that. CM resigned as a director at Sunderland AFC late last year for ‘personal reasons’, following claims that said Sunderland supporters didn’t understand business and were parasites. He continues to hold a 6% stake in the club as well as clearly being instrumental behind the scenes. “If, since then, they’ve been critical of decisions we’ve made, things we’ve said or whatever it might be, that’s understandable, they’ve got high standards for their club. They want their club to be progressing on the pitch, not just off it, and I totally understand that. Stewart and I are the same with Oxford which is our club. We totally, totally get it and all we can say all along is that we really, really are trying and everybody at the club is trying. It’s no longer a place with people who don’t care or don’t want to be there. It’s a place with coaches and directors and players who really have and are giving heart and soul to it, and it will come right. It absolutely, definitely will come right now that they, the Sunderland fans, have actually turned their own club around. The fans] will be rewarded for it, hopefully this season. We’re still right in the thick of it, three points off the automatic promotion places. If not, it’ll happen sooner rather than later because the club’s just too good, too big and now too stable not to eventually succeed. The main aim of what we were trying to do was try to turn it around and get the club straight again, the case now is that the club is debt-free, cashflow positive and in a good position.” “As a fan you’re primarily focused on ‘did we win last weekend? Are we going to win this weekend?’ but fundamentally, if a club is in a sound place, the football will come, and it always does come in the end. When you’re in difficulty, when you’re living hand to mouth, week to week, not sure whether the football club is going to survive, that is where Sunderland have been for some time. The fact that it’s now in a place where the biggest discussions are ‘has the board made the right decision on the manager? Has the manager made the right decision on the players? Have the players made the right decisions on the pitch?’ that’s a much more healthy place for a football club to be in than a place where every single week the national, local and fan media are saying ‘are we going into administration here?’ We felt it was worth taking the risk to get the club back on its feet so it could compete again. In that season in the Championship, the club just wasn’t in a place to compete, it was such a mess that managers, whether that be Simon Grayson or Chris Coleman, both of them are good managers, weren’t really in a position where they could plan, sign players, didn’t know whether players were going to be there much longer and the whole thing was just not in a good place.” “Now obviously, if those two last minute moments at Wembley had gone the other way, everyone would turn around now and say that was a huge success and unfortunately that didn’t happen. Sunderland is going to come good again because now the fundamentals of the business are right. It has the appropriate structure for a club that is outside of the Premier League now, which it didn’t before. It’s only a matter of time before a group of players do become successful and push on from there and everyone will look back at its darkest days and say ‘you know what, that was as bad as it got’ and from then on gradually we’ve pushed on.” Meanwhile, Steven Fletcher has been chatting about his time at SAFC and reckons that we should never have sacked Martin O’Neill. He said: “I think the problems were upstairs. I think they were that scared of getting relegated that they thought they needed change. He’d have kept us up. I know Di Canio came in and kept us up, but Martin would have kept us up that season. He’s got something about him [O’Neill]; he’s infectious. He knew how to make someone feel a million dollars. You felt unbelievable. When I first signed for the club the aspirations were to make the club a top half Premier League club. They’d done that the year before. I was thinking brilliant. It was going to be the first time I was at a club in the Premier League doing more than fighting relegation. It just never ever happened like that. By the time I got to my third and fourth season the goal was just, let’s try and stay up. That’s why I lost all my hair! I started watching the Netflix documentary. It was hard to watch,” he admitted. “Do you know when you’ve been somewhere so long? I was there for four years. It was hard to watch and I had to stop watching it. I loved being at that club and it’s so sad what ultimately happened. I had to stop watching it. The fans are brilliant. It’s a big club. But there was just always such a big fear of getting relegated that everyone was just always on edge. But it was a brilliant club.” In other news, Fulwell73’s Ben Turner has been chatting about the release of Sunderland ‘Til I Die Season 2. “Sunderland just can’t help but screw it up, can they? We came in this year so much more optimistic,” Turner said. “It makes it so much harder putting it all together to make a story of it when it hasn’t quite gone how you envisioned. The editing takes such a long time. Whereas most fans can move on and try and forget about it, I then have to spend months reliving it, and not just reliving but trying to make it as tense as possible so when you watch it you really feel it. That side of it is tricky. But it is worth it at the end.” Turner was also quizzed about the possibility of season 3! “I’m not sure on the future of Sunderland ‘Til I Die,” Tuner said. “There has to be a story to tell. We obviously don’t or can’t do anything to influence the story, so we have to feel like there’s going to be something new to tell. The way last season ended it didn’t feel like there was going to be enough of that for another series. Once Sunderland are playing in the Champions League though, I’m sure we’ll return! In all seriousness, I’d love to bring Sunderland being promoted to screen - the joy of Sunderland actually doing well. The one thing this project has led to is catching up with old friends, and I remember talking to some about going to Bradford away in the promotion season when Niall Quinn played in goal. I was in uni doing my finals that year and that was the last game I got to go to that season. I just remember what an amazing night it was. I’d love to have our cameras there on one of those nights, and bring that side to people. Especially after we’ve shown so much suffering and pain for Sunderland fans. After season one was finished I remember being in an edit overnight with the footage of us getting relegated and I was in tears. I just couldn’t get away from it. I wanted to forget about it but we had to make a series out of it. It was bloody terrible! I would never say never. It would be fantastic to show Sunderland celebrating. Some of the scenes where we takeover London, they’re amazing, but just a flavour of what it would be like if the club actually had some success. I’d love to find a way to do some more.” “I’m excited. I guess it’s a good time to drop the series right now. I do get a tiny bit nervous about it. I think it’s going to do well, building on the first series, I think it will do well. Its audience is far wider, but it’s always been important to us what Sunderland fans think of it and how the club is portrayed. This one means a lot. We’re lucky now that we’re established enough to pick and choose our projects more. It’s important to us to do projects that are meaningful, and there isn’t one that’s more meaningful to us. When you’re making it you of course have to honour the story and how it comes to you. You can’t think too much like a fan. But the club does mean a lot to us. So it’s a mixture of excitement and nerves for its release. I hope everyone likes it. I think overall it will be well received, but I hope Sunderland fans like it.”


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