Juan Sartori opens up on why he wanted to get involved in Stewart Donald's Sunderland project

New director Juan Sartori didn't hesitate to get involved at Sunderland and believes there are no excuses for the club not to be a success.

Sunday, 5th August 2018, 2:13 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th August 2018, 2:18 pm
Stewart Donald and Juan Sartori. Picture by Frank Reid.

Sartori, a Uruguayan businessman, officially joined the club as a director on the eve of the 2-1 win over Charlton Athletic after being granted EFL approval.

Ahead of the League One opener, he enjoyed a kick-about with Sunderland supporters and owner Stewart Donald in the FanZone and could later be seen celebrating wildly as Lynden Gooch scored a last-minute winner.

Stewart Donald and Juan Sartori. Picture by Frank Reid.

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Sartori - who has bought a 20% stake in the club - has a huge passion for football and is determined to help bring success to Sunderland along with Donald and executive director Charlie Methven.

"Everything is top class. Really, there is no excuse for this club not to be successful with the infrastructure and facilities it has," said Sartori, who took time to pose for pictures and sign autographs for fans ahead of the game.

“All the infrastructure is there, we just have to make the right decisions, maybe a new sense of common sense into the club and just change the culture. Sport is all about winning, that's what we intend to change at the club."

Sartori has strong connections with both Donald and Methven after the trio had previously tried to takeover Oxford United. They remained in contact and Donald was keen to get Sartori on board at Sunderland when he bought the club from Ellis Short.

Donald and Methven believe that Sartori's football connections will be crucial as they aim to achieve their goal of making the Black Cats a stable Premier League side in five years.

Sartori's father-in-law, Dmitry Rybolovlev, is President of Monaco, who have enjoyed spectacular success in recent years.

So, how did he become involved at Sunderland?

Sartori said: “First of all, because it is something I always wanted to do.

“Second because Sunderland is the dream girl! You always want something like this when you think about a football club.

“Dedicated and loyal fans, a club with a lot of history and infrastructure that has been put together over many years with a top-tier academy, one of the best stadiums in England.

“All of this combined meant that this was something that was impossible to resist.

“If you like football, if you want to build something successful for the long-term and especially if you can do that with people who you respect and you are friends with like Charlie and Stewart.

“We will put the time, the connections, the know-how, that we have to try and assist Stewart - who is the ultimate beneficial owner of the club - to try and make the best decisions on the football and business side and build a team that makes it successful.

“One night, it was around 1am or 2am - when Stewart is usually still working - he rang to tell me ‘I have this new opportunity. It is better and bigger than anything we were dreaming of before but it is going to require a lot of work and I was thinking about proposing you join this Sunderland acquisition’.

“It took me one minute to say ‘I’m in!’

"We see a lot of potential, all the infrastructure, the basis, is here but obviously something is missing or the club wouldn’t be in this situation."

Football is a huge passion of his, as could be witnessed when Sunderland snatched a late win, the members of the director's box celebrating as wildly as the Sunderland team and supporters inside the Stadium of Light.

Sartori added: "I have been playing football since I could walk and still play a few times a week - it is an ongoing passion!

"I am too old to continue dreaming about a career on the pitch but owning a club gives you a similar emotion, pride in success and winning.

"I want to combine the passion with the successful project.

"Everybody is motivated by the challenge, we all understand it is not going to be easy and we are going to have to make some hard decisions, particularly in the restructuring and turnaround phase.

"But we are unbelievably excited by the potential and the opportunity and the capacity we have of succeeding, otherwise we wouldn't be here," he told the club website.