It has been quite a week on Wearside. Even with Sunderland about to begin only their second ever season in England’s third tier, after several years of disappointment, fans are beginning to feel optimistic about the club’s future. Here is the Sunderland recap on all the goings on during the eventful past week
A New Era At Sunderland
The beginning of the week saw an out with the old, in with the new scenario. American Ellis Short finally departed the club after wanting out for some time. His tenure saw the club fall from the Premier League to League One in just two seasons.
Former Eastleigh owner Stewart Donald was confirmed as the Black Cats’ new majority shareholder. A deal between himself and Short had been agreed before the end of the season; however, these deals take time and thankfully for the club and their supporters it didn’t take as long as it could have.
As soon as Donald was announced as the new owner, he and new executive director Charlie Methven got to work on the first stage of rebuilding the club in an attempt to get Sunderland back into the Championship at the first attempt.
New Manager and Assistant
Donald’s first task was to appoint a new manager. He stated in his first press conference that he would like a new man in place within a week. It didn’t take that long. Two days later he announced that he was hopeful that a new manager would be appointed by close of play the following day. He didn’t quite do that, but on Friday the new man was announced to eagerly awaiting supporters.
Former St Mirren manager and current holder of the Scottish Manager of the Year Award Jack Ross was given the task of rebuilding the Black Cats team. He arrived alongside his assistant James Fowler after saving St Mirren from relegation and then winning the Scottish Championship with ease the following season.
After being confirmed as boss, Ross said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to take charge of an incredible football club. If you look the history, the facilities and most important of all, the fanbase, you can see what this club can be. To be part of the team to help realise that potential is something that fills me with excitement.”
New Managing Director
The former Samson the Cat (the club’s mascot) has returned to Wearside as the new Managing Director. He left Premier League high-flyers Tottenham Hotspur to return to his hometown. He has worked in football for over 20 years and will be in charge of the overall commercial operation and re-engage the club with its fans and also businesses.
New owner Stewart Donald has also brought in his former manager from Eastleigh, Richard Hill. It was first thought that Hill would become the new Director of Football; however, Donald took to Twitter shortly after this was reported in a national newspaper to set the record straight. He advised that Hill had come to Sunderland in a specific role but would have no first-team duties at all. New manager Jack Ross would have full control of the first team.
Martin Bain and Others Leave
Martin Bain was one of the first to leave the club after the owners decided to scrap the role of Chief Executive. Bain had held the role since May 2016 but during his time, the club suffered successive relegations. Bain was also understood to have been the club’s highest-earning director with a £1.24 million salary.
Head of recruitment Neale McDermott has also left the club along with the head of marketing and the director of change. Academy boss Jimmy Sinclair has taken the decision to retire. Early reports suggest that club legend Kevin Ball could be about to take the role vacated by Sinclair. Unfortunately, other staff have also had to be let go. This is said to be due to various areas being overstaffed in recent years.
It has certainly been an eventful week at Sunderland and that is due to continue throughout the summer. It was clear to many that after recent disappointments, changes were needed. The new owner has come into the club and got to work very quickly making some tough but necessary changes. New manager Jack Ross will now need to decide who he wishes to keep out of the current squad, then decide on players he wishes to sign to help get the club back into the Championship as soon as possible.