We have a new owner! Kinda. It almost seems a bit pointless dragging all this up because the saga of Kyril Louis Dreyfus’ takeover of Sunderland seems to have run on longer than our 364 day wait for a home win which, coincidentally, was ended by a Frenchman. These are different times though and in 24 hours at SAFC we went from reminiscing about Trafalgar to getting to Wembley to being owned by a 24-year-old French billionaire. Typical Sunderland maybe?
Well, there are elements that are but let’s not start with the negatives. KLD spoke of an exciting new chapter in our history. That sounds promising, but I wouldn’t expect him to be rivalling Abramovich in the immediate future. Everything he has said is about rebuilding infrastructure. Solid foundations and sustainable long-term success.
That starts in one place and that has to be the Academy. I have been amongst the many who have watched prospects leave Sunderland but in all honesty we have to admit that we are in League One and if Arsenal or Man Utd come calling for a prospect we’re up against it. There are those who say we should have been blooding the youngsters in the first team, but this league shows no mercy for the faint hearted. What is more of a concern is the deterioration in scouting and development that seems to have seeped into the timber at the Academy. If KLD can remedy that it would be an excellent starting point.
That requires investment of course, but if he is prepared to sacrifice his own nest egg for longer term gains then we will be in a better position. Of course, we are still left in a position where we are in League One and any prospects will be hoovered up by the billionaire clubs in the Premier League. This is why KLD has to also concentrate on getting us into a position where we can demonstrate to the young players that they have a viable stepping stone if they stay with Sunderland. We have to get out of this league. We have to show players that we can develop them in house and challenge for the top flight where they can show their promise on the big stage. At the moment we’re a feeder club. That perspective has to change.
There were some familiar SAFC PR phrases in the statement that was released. “Custodian” of the club was used, as it has been many times by Charlie Methven. The dictionary definition of Custodian reads: “a person who has responsibility for taking care of, or protecting something.” Let’s hope that KLD takes a little more care of us than SD did. Even the reference to sustainability was familiar. It all sounded a bit deja vu, but maybe I’m a cynic.
Stewart Donald’s statement admits mistakes were made. I’m not going to dwell on that, we all know mistakes were made. If he admitted those mistakes, sold up, written off the FPP loan and said sorry then fair enough. That hasn’t happened. The three amigos have retained a share. Their involvement has been played down, if not shut down by KLD. This tells us one thing really; that they believe KLD will bring success and, in time, make them a profit on their shares. It’s business I guess, but it leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth when you think about how they first rolled into town with their Dortmund model.
Another thing that was slightly irritating in Stewart Donald’s statement was his reference to us being debt free. Obviously, the detail of the financial transactions between Short and Madrox is limited, but to claim credit for us being debt free might rattle Ellis Short a little bit. In my view, Madrox have taken a club that was fit for the Premiership in all but playing squad and turned it into a club that has a League One mentality. They should have nothing to do with the club going forward, in fact they should be ran out of town if they ever dare to show their faces again.
Unfortunately, we will have to take the one positive grain out of their continued involvement and that is that perhaps they are hoping to make a profit. To do that KLD is turning us around. If they make money out of that then it’s absolutely fine by me because Sunderland will be back.