On the eve of their biggest match of the season, Sunderland owner Stuart Donald has attempted to clarify reports that he is in talks to sell the club.
Responding to a report by Sky Sports which suggested Donald had received several offers for the North-East giants and was currently considering his options, Donald told the Roker Report that he’s yet to receive a proposal that has convinced him that leaving the club was in everyone’s best interest.
He added that the club had received several offers but confirmed a deal was far from close and that the likely outcome was added investment, with Donald staying involved with the club to help it regain its Premier League status. He further stated that he loves the club and does not need to sell.
Following the Sky Sports report, the Sun claimed the Sunderland owner was close to accepting a £27 million bid for a massive chunk of his majority stake in the club from a consortium based in the Far East.
Donald owns a seventy-four per cent stake in the Black Cats having bought the club from the previous chairman Ellis Short in a £40 Million deal last May in which the Texan wrote off the club’s debt. He is a popular figure amongst Black Cat supporters having arrested the alarming spiral of defeat and despair the club had entered under Short.
Nonetheless, the position of Donald does still appear ambiguous, and the outcome may depend on how the team performs in the playoffs. It is unfortunate reports have emerged on the eve of their biggest match of the season and perhaps not ideal preparation for Jack Ross and his team as they plot to overcome Portsmouth in tomorrow’s crucial game.
Ross and the players will say the speculation does not affect what happens once the players step over the white line and he may well be right, but then he may not honestly know until the game kicks-off whether his players are up for the fight.
The uncertainty may also dampen the atmosphere at the Stadium of Light. Donald has worked hard at fan engagement and not without success. He has re-established a connection between fans and club lost under Short, but this might be under threat if supporters feel he was only at Sunderland to make a profit and his relationship with the club was insincere.
One thing is sure, the speculation only adds to the drama and intrigue on what already promises to be a fascinating evening. You almost wish someone was making a documentary about it.