The latest edition of the Sunderland weekly round-up takes a look at the latest news from Stadium of Light, including a look back at the news fans had been eagerly awaiting. Their club finally has a new owner and chairman following the sale by former owner Stewart Donald. Kyril Louis-Dreyfus takeover of the League One club was accepted by the Football League and now a new era has begun. We also look back at the recent games, one of which saw the club reach a Wembley final once again.
Kyril Louis-Dreyfus Takeover Complete, Wembley Awaits and More
Black Cats Wembley Bound
Sunderland are on their way to Wembley once more. Last Wednesday they defeated Lincoln City to progress to their second EFL Trophy final in three years. It will also be their third visit to the capital since being relegated to League One in 2018.
A patched-up Sunderland defence which had just one fit central defender in it, plus a midfielder at right-back, defeated the current league-leaders. However, it took some hard work and penalty luck to get them to Wembley.
Lee Johnson’s only fit and available central defender began the game alongside midfielder/right-back Luke O’Nien. Captain and central midfielder Max Power was at right-back. However, when Bailey Wright picked up an injury (which will keep him out for two to three weeks) and Lincoln took the lead, a Wembley final began to look unlikely.
Despite this, the man of the moment and top scorer Charlie Wyke scored a second-half equaliser to take the game to penalties. The Black Cats scored all of their penalties, although two were almost saved, to win 5-3.
Head coach Lee Johnson was delighted with the win in front of incoming new owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus. Speaking to the BBC, Johnson said: “We know the last few years have been negative – this is hopefully the start of the resurrection.
“I’m just really happy for everybody that it gives us the chance to win some silverware. Unfortunately, it’s without the fans but we know we will have the whole of Sunderland and the surrounding areas behind us in spirit. He added: I think we can use the final as motivation for the league as well. If you want to play at Wembley, you’ve got to play well in the league – it’s not a charity.”
Sunderland will face Tranmere Rovers at Wembley on Sunday 14th March.
Kyril Louis-Dreyfus Takeover Complete
Kyril Louis-Dreyfus finally had his takeover of Sunderland accepted by the Football League. The 23-year-old is now the majority shareholder at the club and will also be the new chairman taking over from previous owner Stewart Donald.
Upon the completion of his takeover, Sunderland’s new owner and chairman told the official club website: “I would like to thank Stewart, the Board of Directors and the EFL for their diligence and support throughout the recent process. I am proud to become a custodian of this esteemed institution, but I also recognise the significant responsibility that comes with it. Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Sunderland AFC’s history and although the current landscape facing football dictates that there are challenges to overcome, I am confident that together we can weather the present storm and put solid foundations in place to bring sustainable and long-term success to the club.”
A brand new chapter is beginning at Sunderland. Louis-Dreyfus is the heir to part of a £6 billion fortune. His task in the short term is to help in any way possible in getting the Black Cats promoted. Thereafter, the aim will be the Premier League. Sunderland now have the financial backing to achieve their aims, that backing must be used in the correct way.
Burton Albion Defeated as New Era Begins
Sunderland’s first game under a new owner and chairman was away at Burton Albion, With Louis-Dreyfus in attendance once more, Lee Johnson’s men put on a show and returned to Wearside with all three points. Grant Leadbitter and Lynden Gooch gave the Blacks Cats a comfortable halftime lead.
Albion were reduced to ten men early in the second half. From that point, there was only going to be one winner. In form striker Charlie Wyke, following a frustrating afternoon finally got his goal to put the game beyond doubt. The big striker is in such form that it is almost expected that he will score in every game. His goal here made it 23 for the season.
Kyril Louis-Dreyfus Begins With Improvements Plus Academy Positions Filled
New Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, who took over the club at the end of last week, has already begun to make small improvements. Plans are in place to install ‘a state-of-the-art’ pitch lighting system to boost the playing surface at a cost of £500,000. The club’s streaming matchday service has also been given a revamp with more camera’s showing the action, behind the scenes footage and more player and staff interviews before and after the game.
Sunderland’s official club website also announced changes within the club’s academy structure. Lewis Dickman and Leann Cowperthwaite will undertake the respective roles of Academy Manager and Head of Academy Operations, as Stuart English becomes the club’s new Head of Coaching.
Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman said: “A modern-day academy requires strong, collaborative and diverse leadership and we now have that in place. I look forward to supporting our new academy leadership group, as we strive to deliver a best-in-class youth system with a clear talent pathway through to the senior squad.”
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