Sunderland AFC MD Tony Davison reveals how Black Cats have slashed costs by more than £25million - as manager Jack Ross outlines ‘brutal reality’ of the job

Sunderland AFC’s bosses have slashed the club’s running costs by more than half since taking over, the club’s new managing director has revealed.

Tony Davison was addressing a North East England Chamber of Commerce Leadership Launch at the Stadium of Light, which also heard from first team boss Jack Ross.

Tony Davison

Tony Davison

The board had been forced to take urgent action to stabilise the club’s finances, he said.

“We have halved our outgoings,” he told the audience.

“We were a football club with expected costs of £50million and expected revenue of £15million.

“We have worked hard to cut that down to less than £25million and raise revenue.

We have taken the first steps to make it a sustainable football club. If your outgoings are three times your income, you do not have a sustainable business.

Tony Davison

“We have taken the first steps to make it a sustainable football club. If your outgoings are three times your income, you do not have a sustainable business.”

The club had been working to rebuild links with the community on Wearside, said Mr Davison.

“Everybody, from the board to the coach to the players and the hard-working staff we have here are committed to putting the club back at the heart of the city,” he said.

Jack Ross offered the audience an insight into the ‘brutal reality’ of life as a football manager.

Jack Ross with (left) Judith Doyle, Principal and CEO at Gateshead College and Julie Digman, North East England Chamber of Commerce medium members relationship manager

Jack Ross with (left) Judith Doyle, Principal and CEO at Gateshead College and Julie Digman, North East England Chamber of Commerce medium members relationship manager

“In the eight months since the start of the season, out of 92 football managers, 30 of them have lost their job,” he said.

“Nathan Jones, at Luton, was the only one to have gone voluntarily.

“That is the brutal reality of being a football manager, especially in the modern day game.”

He outlined the abilities needed for the job - leadership, team building, organisation, strategy, ambition and motivation.

Jack Ross charms the audience

Jack Ross charms the audience

“Lots of people think the could do my job,” he said.

“There will be players, there will be coaches, there will be other managers. I would always ask them do thay have the passion, the commitment, the resilience, the character and the charisma.

“You have got to be resilient, you have got to have character, you have got to be charismatic - you’ve got to have something that makes people say ‘I want to listen to him’,” he said.

Ability to cope with the unexpected was vital: “When I put 11 players on the pitch, all the work I have done prior to that can sometimes go out the window, in 60 seconds, because they make decisions, they make calls.”

Communication was vital to motivating staff, said Jack: “I would like to think each and everyone of my players feel as if they have a personal relationship with me.”

Jack Ross

Jack Ross