The news we’ve all been hoping would arrive for what seems like an eternity has finally arrived. Ellis has sold up, and the rumours that were drifting across the away end on Friday night have proved to be true. It is “the bloke from Eastleigh and Oxford”, Stewart Donald, and the ins and outs of the deal mean that Coleman and Symons have left. I can only assume that they have someone lined up (Sol Campbell, anyone?) and asked SAFC/Short/Bain to get shot of them to save them having to pay them off. While Coleman is far from blameless for the hopeless season almost past, as we’ve frequently questioned his personnel, tactics, and substitutions, he’s not had a penny to spend and had to deal with players who don’t want to be here, have been injured, or have vanished off the face of the earth. I also assume that he’s the only manager ever to have completed his stay at a club without even speaking to the owner.
I was asked if this was one of the more surprising days in the history of Sunderland, but it simply isn’t. Nothing about my club would surprise me any longer, expect perhaps a bit of success. The statement from the outgoing owner made a lot of sense, and I understand the need for keeping things under his hat, as telling us that something real was in the pipeline and then it falling through (this is SAFC we’re talking about) would have been a nasty kick in the teeth, but no surprise. The fact that we’re now debt-free made us a much more attractive proposition for someone to take us on, so for that we have to thank Short, even though it’s his disastrous off-field appointments that caused that debt in the first place. Our new head honcho apparently is a mate of Glenn Hoddle and has connections with Chris Wilder (of Sheffield Utd) so perhaps…
One thing that is certain is that the Short era is over, and it’s one that we’ll look back on with mixed emotions, not that mixed, though, as while it was canny for a little while, it all turned to sherbet. The fact that we’ve churned our way through eleven permanent and two temporary managers on his watch means that it’s no surprise we’re known as a basket-case of a club. The last four years have been unremittingly awful, with only that oh-so-brief bit of football under Allardyce that can be looked back on with any sort of fondness, the repeated off-field antics of certain employees has put us firmly in the bucket labelled “laughing stock.”
Right, then. New owner (even if he is an Oxford fan, how’s that game going to play out next season?), new manager (eventually), clean slate, new beginnings, no debt. Let’s be happy with that and try to look forward to next season as the start of something good. Stewart Donald has experience of English football, as the owner of Eastleigh and 10% of Oxford United. He made his money with his company Bridle Insurance, but who else is involved in his consortium (the “international investors”) is the subject of much discussion on Wearside this afternoon. They’ll need to come up with considerably more than the £3 million he’s put into Eastleigh, though.
Mind, who will be playing for us next season will be something that we won’t know for a while. Unless, of course, the new manager is announced in the morning, gets himself on Look North and whips out a list of names he’s bringing in. Naturally, all of the loanees will be going back to their parent clubs, apart from Lee Camp, who’ll probably get lost on the way. Rodwell might fancy playing in League One and embark on a Roy of the Rovers period of his career that sees him barnstorm his way back into the England squad, and pigs might fly. Kone and Oviedo will leave at about 3pm next Sunday, and no doubt some middling Championship clubs will come in for the likes of Asoro. McGeady and McManaman will probably be off as well, O’Shea will surely retire before his legs completely give out, and the rest of the defence… put ‘em in a bag and raffle ‘em.
Basically, though, we’re guessing about who’ll be picking the team and who’ll be available to be picked, but at least we got what we wanted and needed. Will Bain do the decent thing, though, and make the job complete?
An awful lot more will be known about the new people in the next few days, and for the first time in years we’ve got the chance to change without the millstones of debt and the regime that’s dragged us down hanging round our collective necks. Onwards and upwards.
To celebrate being complete and utter shite once again, we’re bringing bring back this classic t-shirt from the 05/06 season. Looking back to those halcyon days under Mick McCarthy when we managed to amass an incredible 15 points to see us relegated from the Premier League.
Don’t worry we will reach those lofty heights again but until then we can take comfort in the fact that we’re all... still here when we are shit! Hardcore fans and Sunderland till we die, whichever league we are in and whoever owns the club. Players, manager and chairman come and go. Fans remain. We are the club… click here to view product