Charlie Methven gives Sunderland takeover update and says when he expects sale to conclude
Stewart Donald confirmed earlier this year that he was actively seeking a buyer for the club after fan groups launched a protest urging him to sell.
Thousands on social media echoed their call, showing their discontent with results on the field and the direction of the club off it.
Donald had twice previously been in advanced takeover talks, with Mark Campbell’s attempted buy-put collapsing and the FPP Sunderland group utimately option to inject around £9 million into the club in the form of a loan.
Methven, who had stepped down from the board earlier in the campaign, retains a 6% stake in the club and has been speaking to the Radio Times ahead of the release of Sunderland ‘Til I Die season two next week.
The show will chronicle in detail the first year of the new regime on Wearside.
Methven says that while the current health crisis in the UK has ‘slowed things down a little bit’, he still anticipates a sale in the not-too-distant future.
League One football as it stands is set to resume at the beginning of next month, but the current postponement is expected to last considerably longer than that and there remains significant doubt as to how and when the current campaign will conclude.
Sunderland this week placed a number of non-playing staff on furlough leave, taking advantage of the government scheme that will see 80% of their wages subsidised.
Sunderland will cover the rest.
“The discussion about the future of the club is ongoing and while recent events have slowed it down a little bit obviously because people have got other things to deal with in day-to-day businesses and day-to-day lives, it hasn’t really had – as yet – a material impact,” Methven said.
“Anyone who is going to be buying Sunderland football club from us is someone who is buying it for the long term, not the next two months, three months, whatever it might be.
As things stand right now, there are well-progressed and productive discussions taking place with potential new owners of the club and Stewart has always said he hopes to have that issue sorted by the end of this season. That’s our aim and it’s not entirely in our control.
“The people who are in discussions have to make their own decisions as to whether they want to do it or not, just as we did two years ago. Us buying the club wasn’t in Ellis Short’s control, that had to ultimately be in our control.
“As things stand here right now we still believe the club will be in new hands by the end of May.”
Chairman Donald said last month that there had been ‘huge’ interest in buying the club, and said that a number of parties had entered the due diligence stage of the process.