Lee Johnson reckons he’s carried out research for two different consortiums interested in buying Sunderland AFC. This follows rumours that the deal with Kyril Louis-Dreyfus is on the rocks.
“I hear the bits and bobs as everybody does, and I was actually asked to do a bit of research on the playing squad for a couple of consortiums that are looking at buying Sunderland,” said Johnson. “I think if you were a millionaire or billionaire, or a fund or a group or whatever, and you were looking at a football club to go and buy, Sunderland makes sense. There’s a lot of potential in the football club. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were a number of people coming in for the football club. I’m pretty sure Stewart will have a number of options and ideas about what he can and can’t do, but it’s up to him,” he said. “He’s the man that’s currently majority shareholder. I know people are using that term, the ownership group, and sometimes that’s causing a bit of a stir. But it’s the facts. The facts are that that’s (Donald) our owner at the moment, that’s the guy I’ve got to make sure implements and helps us with what we’re trying to do. And we’ll try to pay that back in spades by making sure we win football matches.”
Meanwhile, Johnson is relishing the pressure of being Head Coach at Sunderland and even named checked the likes of Arsene Wenger and Kenny Dalglish during his continual analogies during his press conference today. Unlike Phil Parkinson the new boss seems full of drive and confidence. “I don't find it daunting at all I can only be honest with you I'm excited by that and the challenge that it brings. It's not about me. Yes, I'm sat here now - the messenger if you like. It's about everyone working hard in the background. I'd love to be the Arsene Wenger of Sunderland. In reality through success or failure, that might be different. At the same time, while I'm here I can promise absolute blood and guts and to work as hard as I can and make more right decisions than wrong ones. There will be bumps in the road and I'll make awful decisions but I promise you they'll be for the right reasons. The amount of messages I've had off proper football people - I'm talking proper legends. Through my contacts that I've built up in the game - Kenny Dalglish is brilliant with me. He's been a fantastic mentor. Straight away he said 'Big, big club. Tough club, but at the same time get that going and there'll be a statue.' Luckily it'll be half price because I'm only five foot six. In fact you'll probably get away with a gnome rather than a statue."
Johnson also gave a fitness update ahead of our trip to Lincoln: "I don't think Jordan Willis will be too far away. He trained today, although his training was restricted a little bit in terms of contact, output and intensity. We're drifting him back in as quickly as possible. And Lynden Gooch was training with the sports science team, being put through his paces and moving quite well, and it was good to see him out there, even if he wasn't training with us. It was a big plus from the game in midweek to make sure that we came out of it with no new injuries."