Jack Ross reacts to Sunderland investment talks and why it won't affect play-off promotion bid after Portsmouth win

Jack Ross insists ongoing talk around new investors or a possible partial sale of the club this summer won’t affect Sunderland’s play-off promotion bid.

By Richard Mennear
Sunday, 12 May, 2019, 08:32

News broke on the eve of the 1-0 win over Portsmouth in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final that Sunderland are set to welcome a fresh investor this summer.

Owner Stewart Donald has stressed that he will still be at the club in some capacity next season but the timing wasn’t ideal the night before the biggest game of the season.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

For Ross and his Sunderland squad, he insists it is business as usual and the ongoing situation off the pitch won’t affect his players’ focus on it.

When asked if news that Donald could sell a stake this summer was a distraction, Ross said: “No.

“It has been good for us this week as it has been a clear week with no game and we have had a really good focus about the group, the players and the staff.

“We know everything we have had to deal with this season, a lot of things that people don’t see, we have been strong as a group and had a real focus on what we could effect on the pitch.

“So, anything like that is out of our control and equally it would be really weak for us to ever use that as an excuse, we can only ever affect the preparations and what happens on the pitch.”

The Black Cats Chairman has been open this season in admitting that he may need outside investment to achieve his long-term aim of getting the club back to the Premier League.

He has been in talks with a number of parties and will make a decision later this month on what option to pursue.

He is likely to relinquish some of his shares in the club, but has no intention of walking away entirely.

Donald currently owns 74% of the club, with Juan Sartori owning 20% and Charlie Methven 6%.

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It is understood that he intends to keep a controlling or meaningful stake.

Reports have also suggested that Donald could sell a chunk of his shares for £27 million to a New-York based consortium with links to the Far East.

On the eve of Sunderland's play-off semi final against Portsmouth, Donald expanded on reports that he was in talks to partially sell the club.

"I think we're a little bit ahead of ourselves here," he said.

"It's common knowledge, I've mentioned it before, we need a long-term plan that is going to involve getting some investment in the club.

"We've talked to loads and loads of people over the last couple of months, looked at options of trying to raise internal finance etc. Through the summer there's no doubt that they're we're going to take one of those options, but that will involve us staying at the club.

"We've worked hard in the last twelve months, we need stability. We want to get back up to the Championship on the field, that's important, we're trying to do that, but off the field the football club has been through a lot, our conversations have been about trying to get another investor or investors in, to help us long term to get back to the Premier League.

"We have to get to the Championship first, we know that, but the Premier League is the long term aim and that's what the conversations have been about.

"I would expect and I'm certain that Charlie, Juan and I will be at the club in some guise next season, probably taking the option for one of the people to invest with us."

Donald then doubled down on his comments that he will remain at the club in some capacity.

"100%, I will own some or the current amount that I currently do in Sunderland next season and hopefully for years to come," he said.

"But I might sacrifice some of that if it's in the interests of Sunderland to get some investment in."