Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven will still have key Sunderland role if American takeover goes through

Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven will continue to play an integral role at Sunderland AFC if a takeover bid by MSD Partners Glenn Fuhrman, John Phelan and Robert Platek goes through.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 6:05 pm

The Echo understands that should a takeover deal be finalised, Donald will still maintain an ownership stake in the club.

And both he and executive director Methven will continue to play a key role in the day-to-day running of the club.

Fuhrman, Phelan and Platek - principals of MSD Partners LP - would become the club’s controlling owners, with tech magnate Michael Dell a passive, minority investor.

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Charlie Methven and Stewart Donald.

The quartet are long-time business partners. MSD Partners LP is a New York City based investment firm that manages the capital of Michael Dell and his family plus other investors.

Donald & Co took charge at Sunderland after Ellis Short sold the club following successive relegations, which saw the Black Cats drop from the Premier League to League One.

Sunderland missed out on promotion last season, losing 2-1 to Charlton Athletic in the play-off final with the pressure on Jack Ross and his squad to win promotion this campaign.

The club has naturally had to cut costs following demotion to the third tier and Methven recently outlined the financial position.

Methven revealed last week the club’s wage bill is now £10million.

Writing in the programme, the club’s executive director said: “Last summer, the playing wage bill we inherited of circa £40million was ruinously high and had to be reduced.

“Not just to stem the losses but also to ensure that the club could comply with financial fair play regulations, as clubs are given one season after relegation from the EPL to get their house in order.

“We managed to reduce that playing wage bill to circa £15million, still the largest in League One history but several steps in the right direction.

“This season that has been further reduced, to £10million per annum, or £12.5million if you include payments still being made to players who have left the club.

“At that level of playing budget, the club is financially stable, running at around a £3million a year operational loss - the last parachute payment is mostly allocated to the final historic transfer fees and legal matters - pre-player trading.

“Crucially, though, it means that we will also just about fit within either Championship FFP or League One’s Salary Cap Management Protocol, once our parachute payments cease next June.”

Fuhrman and Phelan – understood to be billionaires in their own right – have worked together at MSD Partners for 21 years, with Platek joining the firm 18 years ago.