So here we go again, another takeover rumour, another bit of frantic research to figure out just who Kyril Louis Dreyfus is and a decision to be made about whether we a) believe it and b) trust it. Let’s start with the positives. Storey has declared it nonsense, which indicates he’s got nothing to do with it. We can put that one to bed now. Looking for other positives, well Kyril’s deceased father was owner of Marseille just after one of their darkest hours and took them from shame and relegation following match fixing scandals back to European regulars albeit without winning anything. There are therefore some parallels to be drawn on that front if that is what young Kyril grew up with. That’s a positive. The other positive is that he seems to have a lot of money, albeit tied up in a trust fund controlled by his mother. Unfortunately I think that’s where the positives end for the time being.
When a takeover came I expected it to signal the end of what has been a fairly tragic story under Donald’s ownership. The chance of a clean break and to rid the club of ownership that, in my opinion, have made terrible decisions, alienated fans, decimated an academy and turned us from a club equipped for the premier league to a team comfortably at home in the middle of League One. That’s some feat. The boast that we are debt free is a hollow boast when it’s largely thanks to Ellis Short’s actions that we find ourselves in that position. Unfortunately this “takeover” is reportedly far removed from that ideal situation where we could say goodbye to the trio, the self declared saviours of Sunderland football club. Donald is set to retain a share from what is reported and Sartori is part of the consortium.
What this ultimately means is that a 22 year old man, reportedly with money tied up in a trust fund, is leading a consortium which includes the man who has largely been a shadow director of the club flashing pearly whites and dancing in the South Stand when needed to boost engagement. The man responsible for hollowing a space for us in this League One rut still sits with shares and a say in the running of the club. Quite why he would want to do that is beyond me given that he has appointed Jim Rodwell to be the mouthpiece, a man who has single handedly managed to annoy just about every single supporter out there. Stewart has been silent. If you’re looking for a slim shaft of light in all of that then embrace every ounce of optimism left in your battered brief that Sunderland will rise again...perhaps Donald is retaining a share because he thinks this consortium can turn things around, sell on at a later date and he can get some decent money for his 15%. Then again, Stewart Donald’s judgement on some things is questionable.
Given Sartori’s involvement in the day to day running of the club thus far and the fact that Kyril is an inexperienced 22 year old who probably wouldn’t know a saveloy dip from a pink slice, I would suspect he isn’t the right person to be handling the day to day business of running a club of any stature, let alone one of ours. That begs the question, who will do it? With a 15% share from Donald and a 5% share from Charlie there is still an interest there and, on the face of it, this appears little more than an attempt to pacify and restructure a little without actually changing all that much. Then again, I’m from the north east so what do I know about business stuff?
There are all sorts of possibilities behind this deal and what remains unspoken is the loan from FPP. Sorry it was an investment wasn’t it? An investment that you repay after a certain amount of time and is secured against club assets. Anyway, what happens with that? These things will come out in time if, and I repeat, if this deal completes. The one question I have is this. Given that Sartori and Donald are friends, and given this deal is so close to completion, why on earth cancel the meeting with supporters at such short notice. A meeting where many of these questions were being asked. Surely it would have made more sense to turn around weeks ago and say “Look, something’s going on here, I know we have a meeting booked but maybe just delay it a couple of weeks?”. I’m a cynic when it comes to these things, I hope I am proved wrong, we shall see.