Why Stewart Donald's brutally honest appraisal of Sunderland finances is to be welcomed
Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald poured salt on the teacakes with a brutally honest appraisal of the club's finances.
He says £11m is being paid to players who were at the club last season (not including the two missing-in-inertia), with another £3m to the newbies.
It was previously revealed that around £25m was owed in outstanding transfer fees, with Ellis Short owed £40m to be paid over the next two years.
This, along with Financial Fair Play, makes the question of what happened to the parachute payments and other revenues rather a silly one.
Ditto: “Why don’t they just spend more and get promoted?”
The main problem is that certain players who were expected to leave are still there on long contracts.
The main four are Oviedo, Cattermole, Ndong and Djilobodji; two of whom have behaved professionally, the other two like spoiled brats.
Easy answers are peddled in bus queues and bars.
But there is no obvious way out.
Selling third tier players on a reported £40,000 a week isn’t straightforward.
As for sacking or suing the miscreants; it isn’t easy.
If it was that simple the club wouldn’t have sought legal advice.
Then there’s the potential loss of transfer fees if sackings occur (it’s reassuring to remember that it isn’t only Sunderland who make daft signings).
Last May Mr Donald said of the transfer kitty: “It’s going to be a good budget for Sunderland and I’m sure it’s a budget one or two Championship clubs would like.”
That wasn’t a promise to break any spending records.
No one was lied to.
With so many undisclosed fees it’s difficult to say exactly how much money has been spent by League One clubs.
But, according to the website transfermarket, Sunderland are the division’s highest spenders.
The outlay for Charlie Wyke, Luke O’Nien and Jack Baldwin is well ahead of the £200,000 spent by Bolton: or the not-a-sausage by Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, and QPR.
Mr Donald wasn’t making much of a boast. “One or two Championship clubs” – in fact four that we know of – would indeed like to have had even Sunderland’s limited budget.
The new regime have been frustrated by events and what happens in January is anybody’s guess. Hope may rest with new director Juan Sartori.
The Uruguayan can clearly afford more than a round of drinks.
But there is FFP.
He will also have examined events at SAFC in recent years and probably won’t think that insouciantly signing large cheques is a good idea.
It would be naive to expect otherwise.
There will always be ill-informed whinging. There always was.
Nevertheless, the extremely restricted new owners have done little wrong so far.
All anyone else can do is trust them and cheer on the team. After all, what’s the alternative?