Sunderland AFC news: Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven have this message to fans after shareholding bombshell

Yesterday, Kyril Louis-Dreyfus admitted to Sunderland supporters that he does not own a majority of the club’s shares.

Pressure had been building on the Black Cats’ Chairman to clarify the ownership structure at the club, having told a supporters’ collective meeting late last year that he was unable to do so due to confidentiality agreements.

A fractious two weeks at the club following Lee Johnson’s departure have seen automatic promotion prospects all but disappear, and have again brought the ownership structure into focus.

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Ahead of another meeting with the Supporter Collective on Wednesday night, Louis-Dreyfus has sent a note to attendees.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Sunderland fans enjoy the atmosphere with their scarf during the Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg match between Sunderland and Lincoln City at Stadium of Light on May 22, 2021 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

While insisting he has a ‘controlling stake’ in the club, and that day-to-day management report directly into him (he continues to enjoy a healthy majority on the board), many fans are likely to feel this was not the new era that was promised.

Louis-Dreyfus confirmed that the breakdown of shares is as follows:

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- Stewart Donald 34%

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- Charlie Methven 5%

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A spokesman told The Athletic: “When Kyril Dreyfus arrived last year as SAFC’s major shareholder, Stewart was happy to hand over control of the running of the club to him and, together with Charlie Methven, voluntarily waived their right to be on the board.

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“From that moment on — with Kyril Dreyfus and Juan Sartori being on the board — Stewart’s only active involvement has been covering his pro-rata funding commitment.

“In the period directly preceding Kyril Dreyfus’ arrival in February 2021, the combined effects of COVID and the Alvarez case (where the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Sunderland must pay former winger Ricky Alvarez £4.7 million in compensation last January) necessitated cash injections from the then-shareholders (Madrox) of £11.35 million into Sunderland AFC, as revealed in the accounts published last summer.

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“Subsequently in Kyril Dreyfus’ first year in charge, the amount required has been £8.1 million to date, which is expected to rise to around £10 million by the summer (making total shareholder funding more than £21 million in less than three years).

“Throughout that time, in common with all shareholders, Stewart has contributed his share of financing pro rata to his shareholding.

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“He has made it clear throughout that he is happy to sell the remainder of his shares internally to the other shareholders at the same level he has already accepted initially.”

Methven also added his own statement in response to questions to The Athletic.

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The Sunderland minority shareholder insisted that he didn’t have an active role at the club despite being regularly pictured at away games.

He said: “I have deliberately not taken up my seat on the board because, just like Stewart, I don’t want to have an active role in the running of the club.

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“Like Stewart, I would be very happy to sell my shares. But, in the meantime, I will continue to provide my share of the financing of the club.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

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