SAFC takeover: done and dusted with a £40m price tag and, soon, a new manager

Keeping the faith

Monsieur Salut couldn’t be in Sunderland today but pieces together the bits he has gleaned about the confirmed purchase of SAFC …


Stewart Donald confirmed today that his takeover of Sunderland AFC from Ellis Short had been completed. The club is now debt-free after Short accepted a £40m purchase price to be paid over two years.

Donald told a news conference at the Stadium of Light that the takeover was concluded on Sunday night after being approved by the EFL on Friday.

He said it was his hope to have a new manager appointed in a week or less to give him as much of the summer as possible for rebuilding.

His first choice, Chris Wilder, appears to be staying with Sheffield United and talk of either Leicester City’s Michael Appleton or Blackpool’s Gary Bowyer – both considered as possible replacements for Chris Coleman – has all but vanished.

The Sunderland Echo, whose chief SAFC writer Phil Smith agreed with me that Arsène Wenger would have been a wonderful capture (though not a realistic target), speculated earlier that contenders included St Mirren’s well-regarded Jack Ross, also courted by Ipswich and perhaps more likely to end up there, Phil Parkinson and Paul Hurst. The Echo says the bookies’ favourite, Alex Rae, has not been contacted by the club.

Charlie Methven, M Salut’s former colleague, is Stewart’s sidekick in the deal. He says there is no international consortium and that Stewart is the majority stakeholder with “to a lesser degree me”. There is scope for others wishing to invest to do so and some have already expressed interest.

Donald says the new boss will have a hefty wages budget by League one standards. Salut! Sunderland believes this will be in the region of £7m-£9m and there will be money (M Salut is not entirely sure whether that would additional or included) for inward transfers. quotes Donald as saying: “It’s Sunderland. It’s as simple as that. As soon as I was aware the club was available and we got into the details, I just wanted to get the deal done. If you are passionate about football and a club like Sunderland comes on the market, you have just got to do it.”

While many supporters would love to see a new squad built around Paddy McNair, there has so far been nothing to contradict the feeling that the new owner is resigned to losing him as one of the club’s saleable – and ambitious – assets, one who also happens to be on a massive wage deal. There are other marketable players and it will be interesting to see how much of the money recouped from moving them on will be available to buy in talent.

For further updates, you would do a lot worse than check out the Echo at this link:

Good luck gentlemen – Stewart describes himself as nervous but very excited” – and Ha’way whoever will be our Lads come August.

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21 thoughts on “SAFC takeover: done and dusted with a £40m price tag and, soon, a new manager”

  1. For me “double guessing” just leads you nowhere . We
    surely should acknowledge the FA and Short are satisfied the buyer is “sound” and has the necessary funds
    availablle /in place . There will inevitably security / debentures to avoid a financial meltdown down . However no commercial deal is water tight. Remember Knighton who attempted / did buy Man U ! Lets give the buyer
    a chance at the very least ,at the very least he appears to have extracted a very good deal for himself
    And the club suggesting he is no fool. I like him !

  2. Re’ the comments that Donald doesn’t currently have the £40 million required, didn’t he say in the press conference that “I’ve managed to find £50m in my piggy bank and the EFL have seen that” ? .
    … suggests he has got the dosh before parachute payments come in (although how someone in Insurance builds up that amount seems amazing to me)

  3. As I said earlier Michael. You are right to ask all the right questions.
    And right to have doubts.
    I’m not in any way saying everything is rosy about this deal.
    2 men have spotted an opportunity, which if it comes off, will double their money.
    Are they in it purely for the good of SAFC, or just passing thru, only time will tell.
    I can only base judgement on history and the job they’ve done at other lesser clubs.
    SAFC however is a much bigger club.
    I wish them well.
    Onwards and Upwards ?

  4. Paul, I admire your optimism, but you’re getting a bit carried away! It’s not the case that Short only wants the money when the club can afford it. Methven made it clear that the £40 million has to be paid over a maximum of 2 years. And that’s not a private arrangement between the two of them. Stewart Donald is now SAFC. SAFC=Stewart Donald. So, to keep saying the club is debt-free is disingenuous to say the least, because the club is now in debt to Ellis Short for £40 million. On the parachute payment, that will indeed come to the new SAFC, and that is the security which Short is relying on to get his money. Once it comes to the club (about £30 million) Donald can use it any way he likes, including to pay off debts – I.e. To Ellis Short. As for “you wouldn’t buy something for £40 million if you didnt have the means to pay for it”, well….you’d think so, wouldn’t you? But people do that all the time – e.g. The people who remortgage everything they possess to chase their dream business. Dragons Den is full of them. I really want this to succeed, and have been totally relaxed about it up to now. But alarm bells are ringing. Donald’s press conference, where he said the opportunity to buy a club like Sunderland was too good to pass up, and yet he didn’t actually have the £40 million required to buy it, and there are is currently nobody else putting up the money either, leaves me very underwhelmed.

  5. If Stewart Donald has bought the ground and academy outright then he has got a fantastic deal,maybe Ellis is holding on the the ground andvrenting it until all the money is paid.Lots of answers to come I think.

  6. I can,t see any businessman taking on £40 million pounds worth of investment without having funds in place and neither can I see Ellis Short selling after paying off the self imposed debts ,to someone who cant afford to pay him.Interested if new man owns the ground and academy or is he renting and Ellis still owns everything.

    • Spot on Barry.
      Regards ground and Academy…..
      I’m not certain, but surely they are owned by SAFC.

  7. I completely get your caution and scepticism.
    It would be foolish to accept things simply at face value. Years of following SAFC has us like this. ?
    To use your analogy.. ?
    To use your analogy..
    if the car dealer offered you the vintage Ferrari over 3 years, you wouldn’t need to remortgage your house. Especially if your plan is to enjoy it for 2 years and sell it on to a collector, at a profit.
    Regards Short withholding parachute payment…he can’t Micheal. He has nothing at all to do with SAFC any more.
    He doesn’t own the club any more.
    SD owns the club and is in debt to Ellis Short for £40 million to be paid in instalments.
    That’s between the 2 of them.
    SAFC as a club, recieve the parachute payment …not Donald or Short.
    The best approach in my view is to watch, trust and support.
    There is no reason not to… yet ??

  8. What if Short holds the parachute payment as security for the £40 million he is now owed? Donald’s assets don’t equate to accessible cash – only the chance of credit. I have assets that would enable me to buy a Ferrari – if I re-mortgaged the house etc. I sincerely hope Donald isn’t doing the equivalent.

  9. Our goal is to get out of league 1 ASAP.
    How does anyone know that SD doesnt have enough clout to do that?
    His paper worth is said to be £8.9 million, however his assets are said to be in the region of £40 million.
    Short doesn’t want to be paid the £40 million now, only when the new owners can afford to.
    (Ie When promoted. )
    So SD basically has the club on interest free credit.
    He inherits a debt free club with a large parachute payment due and playing assets to sell off.
    The League 1 wage budget will be miniscule in comparison with the championship.
    However SD has already stated we have a championship budget available.
    We have 18000 committed season ticket holders, which will swell over the close season with new manager and player appointments.
    This is an excellent deal for SD and for SAFC.
    Going forward, when promoted, the club’s value doubles to £80 million.
    At this point other interested parties will swarm like bees round a honey pot.
    Our only option is to trust, back and observe.
    Onwards and Upwards ?

    • f there were no relegation to League One clauses, most of the players will be on Championship salaries, some on Premier League. Hardly minuscule!

      • Rodwell wage set to drop from £72k a week to around £44k. ?Remains a problem.?Most of other big hitters such as Cats Ndong Kone Djillibodgi Khazri will be moved on. Not needed at this level
        Khazri could be a money spinner.
        People not to be moved on, Watmore McNair Honeyman etc. not on big money.
        Give this article a look.
        It’s really not as bad as it seems at first glance. ??

  10. Where is the 40 million coming from? Donald himself doesn’t have that kind of money. I couldn’t hear the questions from the press, so not clear who gets this season’s parachute payment. Hopefully SAFC? Whatever, Short has not been the Santa Claus figure we were led to believe in

  11. So….they didn’t get it for nothing! £40 million! And no immediate investment from anyone else. Interesting, to say the least!

  12. Since so few have troubled to respond, I shall give this a semblance of debate and add comments post ed at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group

    • I am delighted Chris Wilder seems to be staying locally. I suspect he has had a pay increase – the cynic in me wonders if this was because of the Sunderland interest!

  13. Something about this final episode of the change of ownership………….
    – The international consortium turns out to be non existent, it’s just Donald and a PR guy. Smoke and mirrors anyone?
    – The door is open for a Chris Coleman return. Man management? Human being management anyone? No, tidying up the accounts was the priority.
    Well, I hope for Sunderland’s sake that whiff in the air is just the odd dead mouse, collateral damage no doubt.

  14. Brave man but at least the club is debt free, sort of. Short has still to be paid 40 million and, in effect, he has a claim on the parachute money. There is some breathing space but promotion is essential next season because then other investors are more likely to join the venture. It’s a gamble but letting things drift under Short would have ended in total disaster.

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