‘Buying potential rather than a proven success’ – Sunderland’s potential takeover assessed by expert

Sunderland are edging closers to a £40m takeover, according to the Northern Echo.

Reports of a takeover have been commonplace this season, but as we enter 2020 they’ve yet to make any solid revelations about a potentially defining injection of cash. The Black Cats are currently vying for a top six place in League One, but were restricted in the recent transfer window and will need serious funds if they fail to go up.

Owner Stewart Donald is eagerly looking to move on, not least after he subjected to more at Portsmouth on Saturday when he was leaving Fratton Park. IIt”s reported Pompey fans had to step in and protect him from his own supporters, pointing to the discontent felt around Wearside.

The initial reports of possible talks seem to be coming out of America, with Black Cats’ directors said to have held ‘serious discussions’ with two potential buyers. The fee is thought to be around £40m, but the main selling point being that a return to the top flight, where many fans feel they belong, would increase the clubs worth to upwards of £250m.

In the American marketplace though, football is not the sole reason for investing in a club, as Simon Chadwick, a professor of sports enterprise at Salford Business School, explained. “Football alone is unlikely to be sufficient to justify acquisition, hence buyers will be looking more broadly to utilize the club as a basis for other investments,” he said.

“In essence, they would be buying potential rather than a proven success.”

Our View

A sale is sure to be pushed through soon. Stewart Donald was happily the king of the castle at Eastleigh, but got dragged into Sunderland and has since seen his reputation tarnished. He’s had to quit social media more than once and is thought to be eager to get out now.

If a buyer gets the immediate management of the club right, they’re certainly big enough to get back into the Premier League. However, a glance at Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday should serve as a warning that big clubs don’t always end up where they feel they belong.



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