Sunderland moving swiftly to make up for lost time after takeover talks collapsed

Martin Bain and Simon Grayson
Martin Bain and Simon Grayson
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They say a week is a long time in politics.

And the same can certainly be said for football.

A little over a week ago, Sunderland were without a manager, uncertainty hung in the air surrounding takeover talks while players were leaving but there was no signs of any replacements heading to Wearside.

Fast forward seven days or so and Simon Grayson has been unveiled as the new man at the helm, the club is no longer for sale, pre-season has started with an Austrian training camp and the club has made impressive early strides in the transfer market.

Sunderland’s transfer activity had to be put on hold over the summer as a result of the takeover talks with a German and US consortium, talks which also put on hold the search for a new boss.

Understandably, chief executive Martin Bain couldn’t push forward with plans to replace David Moyes until Ellis Short had concluded talks with interested parties.

Derek McInnes was the No.1 choice, the Aberdeen boss held talks with Sunderland and was close to taking charge until he instead opted to remain in Scotland and finish the job he’d started with the Dons.

It was a very public blow to Sunderland and Bain, with the CEO coming under criticism from supporters but much of that, while understandable, was perhaps unfair given the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing takeover talks.

Bain started at Sunderland on July 1, 2016, and the past 12 months have just about thrown everything at the man in charge of the day-to-day running of the club.

Three managers during his short spell in charge (Sam Allardyce, David Moyes and now Grayson), takeover talks, relegation from the Premier League, the huge debt to contend with and a major overhaul of the playing squad – which is still ongoing.

Hardly a chance to catch breath.

The takeover talks collapsed late last week. The club had been in advanced discussions with a German consortium but owner Short – who remains fully committed – eventually concluded the deal wasn’t in the best interests of the club.

There was also strong interest from a US consortium but it was the German group that was leading the way until talks were eventually shelved.

It had reached a stage where the interested parties needed to effectively put up or step aside with the new Championship season looming on the horizon. Bain confirmed last week the club is no longer for sale.

And since those talks concluded Sunderland and Bain have moved swiftly to make up for lost time this summer.

Grayson, along with McInnes was one of three contenders for the job, was appointed quickly.

The club had been without a manager for more than five weeks, that’s five weeks where they had fallen behind their Championship rivals in terms of doing the ground work for transfer deals.

With a depleted and threadbare squad, the need for new faces – a lot of new faces – was and still is paramount.

And since Grayson’s appointment, Sunderland have acted fast with Everton defender Brendan Galloway confirmed and Tyias Browning set to follow on season-long loan deals.

They will be joined by winger Aiden McGeady. A transfer fee and personal terms have been agreed but the deal is not yet completed.

Bain was in Austria with Grayson and the squad earlier in the week before flying back to push through the deals. Much more work lies ahead with time in short supply ahead of the opening game against Derby County on August 4.

But the signs from the opening week of Grayson’s era have been positive as Sunderland fans finally begin to look forward to the Championship campaign.