Kyril Louis-Dreyfus outlines his Sunderland vision to supporters with key new details discussed
Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and his new executive team have outlined their five key strategic goals in their first meeting with supporters.
Louis-Dreyfus met representatives of the Sunderland Supporters' Collective last week via zoom in what was the first direct dialogue between fans and new owner.
The majority shareholder addressed supporters with a personal message on his vision for long-term sustainability, before presenting a more specific overview of his plans and discussing the changes already implemented.
The Red & White Army supporter group described it as a ‘very positive’ introductory session.
The key targets outlined were:
- Establishing a high-performance culture across the club
- Developing a footballing philosophy based on Sunderland's values and identity
- Providing opportunities for young players through a holistic development programme
- Evidence-based decision making, embracing data and technology
- Aligning and engaging with supporters, businesses and communities.
Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman addressed supporters on his role in the rebuild, citing a move towards a more attacking style and an aggressive press at first-team level that will be replicated across the club.
He also confirmed that the crucial Head of Player Recruitment position has been filled, with the new recruit starting work in mid-April.
Speakman also confirmed that the club have appointed a new Head of Analysis and Data, who began work today. The new appointment is understood to be James Young, who has previously worked at Deloitte and ran his own analytics company, Mahoe Analytics.
Speakman also underlined the club's commitment to women's football and recognised supporter frustration with the loss of young talent from the Academy under the previous regime.
He stressed his background in player development and said he would play a key role in establishing player pathways moving forward.
Chief Operating Officer Steve Davison addressed fans on the development of the business side of the club, discussing season card renewal plans that were announced this morning.
Davison also said that work was underway to bring back concerts from the summer of 2022, and said plans were in place to overhaul the stadium's catering offering, which has long been a major frustration for supporters.
Louis-Dreyfus committed to regular dialogue with the supporters' collective, and in his initial address stressed his desire to protect the long-term future of the club.
"Firstly, I am a very passionate football fan, having grown up around this sport with my father," he said.
"Also, I grew up around the family business. The business is essentially growing and distributing food around the world and is celebrating its 170th anniversary this year.
"With having such a long history within a company that has stayed in the family for so long, it had to weather a lot of wars and crisis over the last two centuries. We always gave the next generation two distinct values that I would like to share with you.
"Firstly, to understand and respect the responsibility that we have to help feed the planet and secondly was to always think long term and try and improve the business in a way that ensures when the next generation takes over, they inherit a business that is better than the previous generation had.
"I will have the same two values at heart throughout my ownership of this football club. I understand and respect the responsibility that I have. In the case of this club, it is to all the fans and to the community that cares so dearly about the club and secondly, I will always think long term to try and improve the club so that whoever comes after me can continue to develop the club even further.
"I think regardless of how long I will stay at this club, maybe 10, 15 or 20 years, I will only represent a small part of this club’s rich history. However, I hope that this ownership and our era will be the start of a long lasting and sustainable and hopefully more successful era for this football club.
"I would now like to address the changing in ownership and the changes in the board," he added.
"While I am the largest shareholder at the club, Stewart [Donald], Juan [Sartori] and Charlie [Methven] will each retain a minority shareholding in the club and will support it as much as they can. I want to assure you, I have the executive control of the club and the majority on the board.
"Since the takeover was announced we have appointed two new directors. Igor Levin, who is our family’s attorney and used to be a former director at Marseille and Patrick Treuer, who I am sure you will meet, he is our CFO of our family business. Both of them will be joining our already existing directors Tom Sloanes and David Jones.
"Moving forward we want the board to be more active and a valuable support tool for the executive management. We will have regular board meetings going forward.
"Finally, I think it is important for me to say, we want to continue these structured dialogue meetings. We want to have these four times a year and I want this to be open and transparent between us. You can expect me to always be truthful no matter if you like the answers or not I will always be very transparent with you.
"All of you have been very close to the club, so you are all aware what a difficult situation the club finds itself in with the pandemic and other reasons. It will require a lot of teamwork and effort from all of us together to weather out this pandemic."