Ellis Short's stance on selling Sunderland 'unchanged', Martin Bain tells supporters group

Martin Bain has told the the Red and White Army supporters group that Ellis Short's stance on selling Sunderland remains 'unchanged'.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 11:06 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 11:15 pm
Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain

The group, which recently launched a petition urging Short to sell the club, wrote to the Sunderland Chairman earlier this week to ask for clarification on whether he is pro-actively trying to find a new owner.

The petition has gathered over 10,000 signatures since it was launched and chief executive Bain says Short is 'aware of the correspondence.'

The letter from the Red and White Army, dated March 12th, said: "We are not naive enough to think this [selling] is an easy task, and a reputable buyer must first exist before a sale can be completed.

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"However, the petition also calls for transparency and honesty from you and we hope that you will be able provide that.

"We appreciate that the process of trying to sell Sunderland AFC will be complex and there will be many aspects that should remain out of the public domain due to commercial sensitivities.

"However, we firmly believe that supporters have a right to know if you are indeed attempting to pro-actively sell the Club."

Recent reports from the BBC suggested that Short would be willing to hand over the club to anyone willing to take on the significant debts, but Bain said that was 'speculation that should be treated accordingly.'

Short last publicly commented on the situation last year during an interview with safc.com, saying: "Now, there is no longer an adviser, the club is not officially for sale. If there is a legitimate buyer that I can have a direct conversation with and it is a credible person, like probably any other owner of an English football team, I’ll have a conversation.

In a letter dated March 13th, Bain wrote: "As the CEO of the football club I am empowered on matters relating to the football club on behalf of the owner and therefore I will reply to your correspondence...

"[The] selling of a football club, as with any business, is a complex task, there are many aspects of the process which should remain out of the public domain and most certainly there are commercial sensitives which may be adversely impacted through the inappropriate release of information.

"Please be assured that the position has not changed since our recent meeting where I explained to you and your colleagues in the wider supporters group, the willingness of the owner to listen to any potential offers where he felt there would be a benefit to the club going forward."

The minutes from the aforementioned meeting, dated Tuesday January 16th, read: "Martin Bain confirmed he does not speak to the owner on a day-to-day basis but has guarantees that he will help to service debts and other deficits whilst the club works to “living within its means”, or if a suitable buyer comes forward and of course will listen to anyone who is right for Sunderland.

"The owner is not holding out for an unreasonable price. Martin Bain said that if, and when the club is sold no fan will consider the sale price to unreasonable."

Bain will next meet with the Red and White Army on April 4th.

The group will hold an open meeting on Tuesday March 20th where supporters are encouraged to submit questions to the club and raise their concerns.

The open meeting will be upstairs at The Peacock, High Street West, on Tuesday, March 20 at 7pm. Supporters can attend by registering for free at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/red-white-army-open-meeting-tickets-44137590722