Close season means silliness, says Monsieur Salut. Our club is ‘linked’ with players no one at SAFC has actually ever wanted. We pursue targets none of the speculation even mentioned. Fans whinge that June passes without marquee signings. They whinge again when the first acquisitions are frees. But at least none of us would be stupid and petty enough to complain when Alex Morgan uses a tea cup gesture to celebrate the USA beating England in Lyon. Would we?
Meanwhile, in disjointed (but reasonably explained) fashion, A Love Supreme has been interviewing Charlie Methven in his English country garden …
After a strangely long and initially unexplained gap between parts one and two, A Love Supreme concluded an illuminating interview with SAFC’s executive director and minor shareholder.
To read the full interview, go to this link. And I assure you that I have it from an insider that the second instalment was delayed for good reasons (
interviewer was too sloshed after an afternoon with CM in the Oxford countryside a possible takeover was imminent and might have rendered the Q+A out of date)
So as a mere sampler, here are short extracts but I do urge you to read the interview in its entirety (https://www.a-love-supreme.com/single-post/2019/07/09/ALS-Exclusive-Takeover-No-Go)
ALS (Giles Mooney): in the papers, the rumours about potential investors saw your percentage ownership the only one not rumoured to change. Does that mean you’ll continue as you are for the foreseeable future?
I don’t know! Ultimately, I’m a small player in the capital structure so we’ll see what other, more important people think. I would like to stay at Sunderland, because I would like to see the initial three year plan through: to balance the business; to see us becoming notably well-marketed and commercially sharp; to see community relations fully restored to the heart of the club; to see the stadium full and thriving in the Championship; to see our social media perceived as the best in the country; to really optimise the Netflix opportunity. At the moment, I think that my part of the job is still only a third done and I would like to back myself to complete that side of the job.
Having set off on the direction that we took last summer, I think it would be harmful for the club to have to change tack again. Some of the potential investors who have come forward wanted to just take the club over and go down a different route. We had offers that were very attractive financially but we had to turn them down because we didn’t think it would be the right thing for the club. And that’s not us being arrogant. It’s a question of, once you’ve set out on a three year plan you don’t stop and rip it up and start again after one year. It’s why we’re prepared to wait for the right people whose plan fits in with what we believe is right.
ALS: Does the lack of investment mean we’re financially at risk?
CM: It’s frustrating that this keeps cropping up. There is a small cabal of so-called supporters who seem intent on disrupting our efforts to bring the club together after years of disunity. All the published facts demonstrate that the club, for the first time in a generation, is in a strong position financially … the club is: 1) debt free 2) almost breaking even 3) is close to breaking even in spite of having by far the largest playing wage budget in League 1 history.
ALS: But does it mean our signings will be bargain basement?
It’s interesting that fans are still worried about free signings after last year’s signings were some of the stand out performers (McLaughlin, Maguire). It’s a function of how football at this level operates. There will be free signings but, as we showed last year, when money is needed to get a player that we want, we’ve done that. Last season we spent £5m on players. That’s more than the rest of the division combined.