So Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven have bought Sunderland bringing to an end the Ellis Short era which had propped up their club for the previous 9 years.

Short had pumped eye-watering sums into the club to underwrite their colossal losses over his tenure and wrote off the debt that had accumulated. And now he’s gone.

If Abramovich or Sheik Mansour left their plastic clubs, you’d think there’d be a distinct anxiety of what the future would bring. But apparently the departure of the Sunderland sugar daddy has been met with glee on Wearside.

But what do we know about the new owners? Let’s take a look.

 

They’re not actually that rich

Donald worked in the insurance industry for more than 20 years, rising from a junior role to senior management. Together with business partner Neil Fox he acquired a string of companies, amassing a net worth of around £8.4m.

Methven is a PR expert who was formally employed as a journalist with the Sporting Life and The Daily Telegraph. He founded Dragon PR Limited in September 2011, and the company’s most recent financial reports, filed in 2017, valued the company’s net worth at £17,098.

Whilst Ellis Short is about £250m poorer than when he took over the goldmine which is Sunderland, he’s still worth over £1b.

 

Donald has previously owned a football club

He has relinquished ownership of semi-professional National League club Eastleigh FC to take control of Sunderland. Who are they you might ask? They’re a L1 club who ply their trade at the Stadium of Light. On current direction of travel, they could be playing Eastleigh in another couple of seasons.

 

The much heralded “international consortium” is looking a trifle limited

So far, we’ve been told that the foreign consortium comprises of Uruguayan millionaire Juan Satori (always a Tory) and ………. well that’s about it. Satori apparently has a rich father in law.

 

Donald and Methven paid £40m for SAFC ……………..

………… but apparently can’t afford to pay the money in one go. Short has agreed to accept instalments over two years and has received £5m so far. If they can’t stump up the rest of the cash, Short will receive the club’s remaining parachute payments. If they fail to secure more “international investors”, this becomes a real risk.

 

Charlie already has his “FTM badge” moment

Without prompting, Eton and Oxford educated Charlie announces that he thinks Newcastle United is an “arrogant club”.

After the PR disasters of the previous regime, the Adam Johnson fiasco, a fascist manager, successive relegations and becoming the laughing stock of English football, you might think that it would be sensible for the new regime to begin their tenure demonstrating a modicum of humility. Not a bit of it.

Whilst we understand that trotting out meaningless cliches about another football club is the quickest way to ingratiate yourself with an element of their gormless support, it displays a lack of class that even our classless owner has never stooped to.

Public school sneering in all it’s privileged, condescending glory.

We understand Charlie has recently been eating out in the fantastic restaurants of Newcastle. Despite the rivalry, like the majority of their players, fans and management, he will no doubt enjoy the hospitality of our friendly city relatively unmolested (unless, like Bob Murray, he’s glassed in a quayside restaurant by an unhappy SAFC supporter).

He will no doubt be treated with more respect, class and dignity by the working people of Newcastle than he is ever capable of (or deserves). And this just highlights the gulf in class between the cities, the people and the football clubs.

 

Charlie is as deluded as their supporters

In his hilarious first interview, Charlie reckons that SAFC are the 7th biggest club in England.

Honestly. He did say that.

 

Charlie loves Margaret Thatcher

Charlie’s ideal dinner guest would be “Margaret Thatcher”. No doubt they could quaff champagne together and discuss their mutual hatred of Newcastle. Charlie could borrow one of the stadium’s Durham Miners flags to provide a backdrop. We await the Methven photo opportunity of his oily mush with the pit-wheel and Davy Lamp as backdrops.

 

Donald left his wife and ………

……….. 4 children, including a baby of ten months old, for a lap dancer 11 years his junior.

Classy.

 

Donald has described the SAFC finances as “scary”

“Running this club costs more than 20 teams in League Two turnover, and that’s before we pay a footballer.”

TF will happily pass our insight into SAFC’s finances to him should he request it. From the thousands of hits that the articles attract, they’re obviously very much in demand.

 

Donald will make Mike Ashley look like Roman Abramovich

Donald developed something of a reputation for being careful with money at Eastleigh, saying that he “hit the roof” because the club were giving free bottles of water to players who would only drink half; he saved the team £500 by stopping this.

We look forward to the novel money saving measures to be employed at Sunderland. Magnet on the electricity meter?

 

Donald has appointed Jack Ross as manager

Their 5th manager in 2 years. We’re told on social media by their supporters that he’s the “new Alex Ferguson”. Fair enough. He is after all joining the 7th biggest club in England.

 

Donald says he will give Ross a competitive L1 budget to work with

We’d expect nothing less from the 7th biggest club in England. However given the “scary” operating costs, we wonder if SAFC will be following the same ‘spend money they don’t have’ model which got them into this mess in the first place.

 

Charlie reckons the “piss taking party” stops now

Not on Tyneside it doesn’t Charlie boy. It’s only just started. Still, your supporters don’t mind that. They loved dishing it out two years ago. “Just banter” though remember.

 

So good luck to SAFC’s new owners. As we contemplate another season in the Premier, their progress over the summer will be watched with detached interest by a sun drenched Tyneside.

 

David O’Brien