Sunderland takeover talk; so did the Times get the wrong O'Brien & what hope the waste man cometh?

More takeover speculation swirling around this morning with some intriguing hint that the identity of the fabled local man coming to the rescue may have been revealed. 


So, The Daily Star have claimed the North East businessman behind waste management company G O'Brien & Sons is the local chap behind talks to take control of Sunderland AFC. 

And the story makes sense from lots of angles and may suggest that the Times did indeed pick the wrong man when they identified Irish crane hire operator William O'Brien as a contender bidding to buy out Ellis Short. 

The North East family firm behind this latest wave of takeover speculation sold a chunk of their business to Biffa in a multi-million pound deal last year and have history with SAFC. The group have sponsored ads at the Stadium of Light for years and the owner is thought to be friendly with Short himself. 

O'Brien sponsorship activity at the Stadium of Light: Image: O'Brienwaste.co.uk

The group have also had executive boxes at Sunderland's stadium and have sponsored South Shields FC and other local and junior football teams throughout the region. The move would also make sense given the noises coming from certain influential fan organisations. 



Given what we think we know about the ongoing financial situation at Sunderland AFC and the likely capital required to run the club as a going concern, it's inevitable that the O'Brien family would have to be part of a wider consortium providing additional financial clout. 

If that isn't sufficient, given the huge operating costs likely to hinder the club next season in League One, any deal with Ellis Short may take some serious negotiation and some time to conclude. Noises have already come from close to the club about the unsustainable wage bill which will be at a record-breaking level for third tier football. 

What happens next should be interesting. If this leak in the Daily Star is accurate - and it fits clues from elsewhere - this North East group would benefit enormously from getting Sunderland supporters on board and generating some excitement in the region. 

Some positive reaction to the news could also add a little pressure on Short to sell to what may be perceived as a 'preferred bidder' from the SAFC fan base. We could well see some increase in chatter this week. 


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