Black Cat Craic

Lifelong Sunderland fan, former Samson The Cat and new Managing Director Tony Davison has spoken of his delight at the chance to work at the club he loves and hopes to help them rebuild again: "Like all Sunderland fans, the last few years have been hard to take, so, when someone you know and trust asks you to help them do something about it, it's very difficult to say no. This genuinely feels like a new beginning for the football club. This is an opportunity to regain our identity and start enjoying going to the match again with a new regime who understand football and what it means to the city."

Furthermore, he has applauded the appointment of Jack Ross and explains how he is a perfect fit for the club to move forward: "The new manager is a perfect fit from a commercial perspective, not only is he a highly credible football manager, he also has an economics degree and commitment to rolling up his sleeves to help all areas of the club. It is the perfect match. In the short term, we will have a new season to prepare for, and the existing team have been working hard, in difficult circumstances, to keep the club ticking over, the key pre-season period is essential if we are going to ride the current wave of enthusiasm to generate the kind of revenue we need to pay for a winning team on the pitch. Make no mistake, every penny we generate ends up on the pitch. If staff, fans, players, board, Foundation and the business community all buy-in to that concept and engage with the club, there will be no stopping us."

Davison has also outlined his vision for the future of the club: "The commercial side of the business needs to operate independently from the football side. This may sound mad. Clearly, we are going to sell more seats if we are winning football matches but there is no reason why you still shouldn't do the right things from a commercial perspective regardless of the performances on a Saturday afternoon. Over the past few years, we seem to have turned our nose up at profitable enterprises because, in Premier League terms, the revenue is dwarfed by the TV money. I don't understand this mentality, the best way to de-risk poor football performance or relegation is to ensure that the club is sustainable regardless of the level of football. The concerts are a great example of this - imagine what that revenue could buy in League One!"

In other news, Jack Ross hopes to make his first signings this week after identifying targets for the summer: “At the moment there’s been a lot of focus on the ‘outs’ which doesn’t fall directly under my remit in terms of making that happen, as (owner) Stewart (Donald) has touched on that’s a priority to balance the club in that sense and then hopefully we can progress on others. They’re quite far down the line in terms of players knowing where we would be at and how strong the interest is, it’s just can we get to that next stage of bringing them in. Hopefully in the next week or so we might be able to do that as well.”

Meanwhile we've recruited former Sunderland goalkeeper Tony Coton from Aston Villa as Head of Recruitment, Stewart Donald explained:"I am delighted to welcome Tony to Sunderland. Recruitment is fundamental for any football club and in Tony we have a man with significant experience and contacts in this vital area. He is passionate, honest and hard working – the exact qualities we want in anyone coming to this football club. He has a tremendous knowledge of English football and understands what characteristics are required, on and off the pitch, to achieve success. Tony played a vital role in reshaping Aston Villa’s squad and ensuring it was equipped to do well in the Football League. Working alongside Jack, his appointment will help ensure we can hit the ground running and attract the right type of players to Sunderland.”

Coton spoke of his excitement of returning to the club to be part of the rebuild: “I am incredibly excited about returning to Sunderland as a new era starts and the rebuilding begins. Having met Jack Ross, I have been hugely impressed by his vision of how he wants his Sunderland team to play and I am enthused by the challenge of bringing in the players we need to realise that vision. Between Jack, myself and the rest of the recruitment staff, I am confident we can help build a team that can take the club forward and I am excited to get started.”