Wholesale changes expected at Sunderland in the wake of takeover

Nearly 12 months after saying he would do, Stewart Donald is set to sell most of his majority share in Sunderland.

by GMac88 Monday, 16 November 2020 09:54 PM Comments

Kyril Sunderland blog

Denver Hume and Elliot Embleton were the only two players in Sunderland's matchday squad against Wolves on the final day of the 2017/18 season. Stewart Donald watched on as the Lads put three past the already-crowned champions as they were relegated to the third tier of English football for the second time in the club's history.

Donald's subsequent tortuous ownership was filled with hard-luck stories on the field, questionable appointments off it but ultimately defined by a relationship with fans which broke down rapidly in the opening months of the 2019/20 campaign. Donald has been majority shareholder at Sunderland for 130 competitive games and there will only be a few more if recent takeover reports are to be believed.

It is true that, should the sale go ahead, Donald will remain part-owner of the club; as will current part-owners Charlie Methven and Juan Satori. But don't make the mistake to think that things will not change rapidly.

As majority shareholder, the decisions were ultimately Donald's. This was particularly evident in the appointments of Richard Hill, Paul Reid and - more recently - Ray Murphy (all former Eastleigh) into key positions at Sunderland. In the proposed takeover, his share would fall to around 15% - meaning his input on club matters would fall on deaf ears should he wish to voice them.

In his place, Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, born into an incredibly wealthy family following the success of his late father Robert Louis-Dreyfus, will lead a group with Satori that will own around 60% of the club. But what can we expect?

Change.

I think we should expect to see significant footballing appointments such as an Academy Director and Sporting Director. Sunderland will boast huge global football connections, and so we should expect the CVs of those appointed to be more formidable and not headline a few seasons with Eastleigh.

We are talking about competent change, strategic change, progressive change - change that will steer the club out of League One and beyond. Louis-Dreyfus' group is also reportedly looking to by clubs elsewhere in the world, including Uruguay; this is the real deal in terms of ambitious ownership.

What of Phil Parkinson? Nothing would reaffirm a message of change quite like a change in manager.