Stewart Donald praises Ellis Short and reveals details of Sunderland sale and wiping £152m debt

Stewart Donald has revealed further details of the deal he struck with Ellis Short to buy Sunderland AFC - and has praised Short for doing the right thing by the club.
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald (right), pictured with executive director Charlie Methven.Sunderland owner Stewart Donald (right), pictured with executive director Charlie Methven.
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald (right), pictured with executive director Charlie Methven.

Donald bought Sunderland from Short for £40million, the deal structured in a way that only a small fee was paid up front with the rest in installments.

So far a total of £15million has now been paid, with the rest due over the next 18-months.

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As part of the sale, Short agreed to wipe the club's substantial £152million debts - some of which was owed to Short and the rest to SBC bank.

Short has written off all of the personal debts to him and the majority of the bank debt so far, with the remaining debt to the bank - reported to be around £10million - being paid off by Short, rather than Sunderland AFC.

Donald has praised Short for the way he handled the sale and said the financial deal struck was as good as Short was going to get given Sunderland's recent struggles on and off the pitch, with the high debt and successive relegations.

When Donald was asked whether Short was desperate to sell this summer, the new Sunderland owner told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Yes, Ellis was desperate to get out and I think he had been that way a little while.

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"So, I think the financial deal from Ellis' perspective was as good as he was going to get.

"It is still a gamble because you never know will you be able to get rid of some of the players? What skeletons are in the closet?

"You have to turn the club around to actually get everyone enthused and maximise it all.

"You have got to do those things, those things are never a given."

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When pressed on whether the club was now debt free, Donald confirmed it was and explained the deal struck with Short.

Donald said: "Yeah, basically, there was £152m to write off [in total].

"To be fair to Ellis, most of that debt was to him and he wrote all that off and then there was a debt to a bank that was due to be paid back.

"That was due to be paid back by Sunderland but he has taken that debt and is paying that off himself through the money that I am paying him, I am paying him over a couple of installments.

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"As long as I pay him - which isn't a problem! The club has been inherited and to be fair to him he has wiped the whole £152m off."

Donald added: "Whilst I think he acknowledges he didn't quite get it right for Sunderland, you can't argue that he didn't put his money where his mouth is when the time came, he has done the right thing by the club.

"He was great to deal with from my perspective. So, while the results didn't go well, you couldn't ask anymore of him once he had had enough."