Charlie Methven opens up on Sunderland's finances and the implications of promotion from League One

Sunderland executive director Charlie Methven believes the club's owners have sorted '60 to 70 per cent' of the mess they inherited last summer - despite plans to bring in new investors.

Saturday, 11th May 2019, 5:17 pm
Sunderland executive director Charlie Methven believes the club's owners have sorted '60 to 70 per cent' of the mess they inherited last summer.

Along with owner Stewart Donald and director Juan Sartori, Methven is part of the consortium which took over the club a year ago, following Ellis Short's decision to sell.

Since then, Sunderland's debts of over £100million have been wiped out by Short, yet Donald and Co. are still looking for potential investment to help strengthen the club.

And Methven has admitted the financial pressures will be even tougher if the Black Cats win promotion to the Championship, where more funds will be needed to compete in the second tier.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"Financially, in terms of on-going costs, staying in League One is straightforward," Methven told the club's matchday programme ahead of their play-off semi-final first leg against Portsmouth.

"In fact, going up represents more of a challenge. But of course, in terms of the capital value of our own holdings, promotion is worth a lot more to us. And let's not beat around around the bush, we want to go up.

"We have probably sorted out 60 to 70 per cent of the mess we inherited and while we would need an extra oomph in our financial petrol tank if we were promoted to the Championship, there are quite a few investors who want to join us.

"They know that putting money into Sunderland Football Club is no longer akin to throwing it down a black hole. We've made this club investable again."

Methven also believes the new owners have helped reconnect fans with the club following back-to-back relegations to the third tier.

He also insists the board will continue to do all they can to ensure the club is as together as possible.

"I would like to think that to some degree, we've re-connected with the fans and if we don't go up, there would be a period of mourning, intense disappointment and lacerating self-criticism and that will go from the boardroom to the dressing room," added Methven. "But I think the bond is pretty strong now.

"Most of what we've done has been well received - like bringing the Roker End back to life and having restored links with the old ground.

"There's no doubt that when times are good, the Stadium of Light is the loudest in the country but the challenge for us is to ensure it's rocking even when we get the odd bad result.

"As a board we can't affect what happens on the pitch but what we can do is ensure every other aspect of the club - directors, employees and supporters - is as together as possible.

"Fans no longer want to come out of sense of duty. They want to be part of it."

"If the club keeps trying to do things right off the pitch, remain fully engaged with the community of our fans, we'll be fine."