Jack Loves Stew

Jack Ross has spoken, at length, about his relationship with owner Stewart Donald. The Scot revealed how Donald’s openness and how he interacts with fans helps him get on with his job. “It sometimes lets me fly under the radar a little bit!” explained Ross. “I’ve said before I like Stewart, he was here last week and I was here at the training ground until 8pm, not that we were speaking about anything particularly exciting – but I like his company and how he comes across. The big thing for me is when I listen to him in the media is that how he comes across is how he is. I know he has said it before, but the things he says in the media he says to me, there’s nothing hidden from anyone. I think it’s refreshing, people have different opinions. For me, he’s helped me settle in here as he’s helped create a positive aura around the club and what comes across is a genuine ambition n to help this club progress. Bring transparent certainly hasn’t made my job difficult at any time.’’

Ross then went on to praise the clubs approach to fan interaction and that it’s such a welcome change from the norm in football: “I think in football, both ownership and management, the separation is one of the facet which has grown in recent times,” explained Ross. “The separation between press and manager, supporters of the club and players has become fragmented and it wasn’t always like that. I know things have changed and the days have probably gone when you walk into the butchers and the guy who is your striker is in there too – and that’s probably never going to come back. But there’s nothing wrong with looking at why people get seduced by football and it’s easy to see why. I think maybe that’s part of the reason I appealed to Stewart as a manager was because I did that at my previous club, I’m a big advocate of being open and putting myself out there and I feel it’s a big part of the job. Opinions and engagement with people who are very passionate about the club is vital – I’m only a custodian and doing the job for a certain period of time. People will be around a lot longer than me, but I think it’s refreshing what he has done. It will be interesting to see if more people follow suit in the future. OK, it’s positive around the club right now and it’s important to maintain that level of communication in more challenging times.’’

The gaffer has likened the club’s relationship with the fans to that of Leicester City, where the recent tragedy has shown the close bond between their club and supporters: “You have seen the reaction to the tragic circumstances at Leicester and how people have struggled to come to terms with that. The chairman had an impact on a lot of lives, and that’s away from football too and I imagine a lot of that he did wasn’t even public knowledge. Engagement helps grow your football club as a whole and there’s so many different parts to it. Stewart is a very genuine guy and I think it would be very difficult for him to hold anything back because of the way he speaks.’’

Meanwhile Lynden Gooch has missed out on a call up to the USA squad ahead of their game against England at Wembley next week. Speaking before the squad was announced Gooch said: “Of course, I think it would be an amazing thing to be a part of. Being in this country for seven years now it would mean a lot to me to get called up.”

In other news Aidan McGeady has revealed he would love to finish up his career at Celtic but reckons it’s too late for him to make a return to Celtic Park as a player. He hasn’t ruled out a coaching role in Scotland though: “I think the moment where I could have returned as Celtic player has passed. I would be happy to finish my career in a Celtic shirt, but I don’t think it will happen. I have not seriously thought about coaching career, but a couple of years ago I would have flatly rejected the idea of becoming a coach, but the older I get, the more I play and watch football, the more often I think about it. My attention is drawn now to certain coaching decisions and I think that perhaps in some situations I would have acted differently.”

Finally Jack Ross has been nominated for the League One Manager of the Month Award after taking 13 points from a possible 15 last month. SAFC Director Charlie Methven was full of praise for the Scot: “Jack has brought leadership and a winning mentality to the club. He’s delivered on everything he said he would in his first interview with us, and we’ve not regretted appointing him for a second in six months. I often hear people say, ‘it’s Sunderland and with their budget they should be at the top’, but the process has been far more complex than that, both on and off the pitch. Jack has never shied away from the task at hand, and although everyone at the club has played their part, he has led by example. Our form throughout October and the wider season has given us a great platform to build from, but we haven’t accomplished anything yet and the hard work must continue on all fronts.”

Charlie has been speaking of the financial benefits of progressing in the FA Cup. We face Port Vale this Sunday and if we can get past the Valiants, and progress further, then it’ll prove a Brucie bonus to the club: “If we make round three of the FA Cup we could probably make £500-600,000,” explained Methven. “These are things that we haven’t factored into our budget, because we don’t think it’s wise to plan cup runs. It should come as the cream on the cake rather than making up the cake. But these things do start to matter, including things like whether you’re going to get on TV or not. That’s the reality once you’re outside of the Premier League and your revenue base is something like £20 million, which is actually pretty high compared to other clubs outside the top flight. If we get up the Championship we think our revenue base would be about £30 million, as TV money is £6 million higher, which would actually be one of the highest when you don’t factor in parachute payments, which, as we know, doesn’t always go straight into the pot.”

We’re also in action next Tuesday in the Checkertrade Trophy. A competition which could see us pocket up to £1m: “If we get to the final of the Checkatrade Trophy the club would probably make about a million quid," said Methven. "As a percentage of an overall revenue base of £18million, that’s pretty good.”

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