Sunderland AFC takeover: Fresh details on Mark Campbell and his consortium revealed
Sunderland’s takeover talks continue - but some fresh details on Mark Campbell and his consortium have been revealed.
The Black Cats are now just six weeks away from kicking-off the League One season, but a number of questions remain unanswered.
And in response to questions posed by members of the Sunderland Echo’s new WhatsApp service, Phil Smith delved deeper into the key issues at the Stadium of Light as the new campaign rapidly approaches:
THE STATE OF PLAY WITH THE TAKEOVER
I’d say it is likely to happen, but absolutely not definite. My understanding is that nothing is imminent, so it would be a major surprise if there was a resolution this week.
I think we’re at a point now where Sunderland have to press on with planning for the new season and now that Jack Ross is back at the Academy, recruitment efforts should step up.
Stewart Donald has been clear that it will not affect the club’s short-term business. Mark Campbell is very much the frontrunner and it would be a surprise if the takeover did not happen in some capacity.
The current hierarchy believe he is the best person to drive the club forward in the long-term and there have been positive talks about the future of all aspects of the business, including the academy.
I don’t think there’s any cause for concern yet, there seems to be good faith from both parties that it’s better to do a good deal than a quick deal.
DETAILS ON THE CONSORTIUM AND THEIR FINANCIAL BACKING
Not a huge amount is known about the consortium, for the most part. We know that it’s a four-strong consortium, led by Campbell. Campbell is an English businessman who has been based in New York in recent times.
Two members of the consortium are said to have ties to the club and city, which can only be a positive. At the moment it’s not clear how much spending power they will bring.
They have ambitious plans for the structure of the club but specifics on budgets and the like are too early to establish. It’s fair to say, though, that Sunderland don’t need major spending power right now.
Their budget and resources should be enough to succeed at this level if they can strengthen while keeping an element of continuity.
There should be two more friendlies confirmed, one either side of the Portugal trip.
The idea has been that the final one will be at the Stadium of Light, and talks have been held over the opposition.
HOW SUNDERLAND WILL FARE IN LEAGUE ONE AFTER SLOW TRANSFER BUSINESS
I think they’re in a much better position than last year.
They have a squad that fell short but we know is ultimately capable of competing.
Last year, Jack Ross was relying on young players to ensure he could play 6-a-side in pre-season training.
If you look at the business done in League One so far, I don’t think they’ve missed out particularly.
There were not too many high-calibre free agents available and most are moving to higher tiers.
They need to improve without doubt and can’t afford too much more hesitation.
More pace, more creativity and more defensive stability is absolutely essential if Sunderland are to go up automatically.
If Stewart Donald expects 6-8 additions, there’s lots to be done.Particularly when you consider that almost certainly would require at least five further exits of players under contract.
SUNDERLAND’S SCOUTING AND RECRUITMENT PLANS
It’s something the club needs to get better at, but it’s a consequence of that brutal, swift drop through the divisions.
Jack Ross put it best when he said that last summer forced the club to ‘ground zero’ on these matters.
There were so many immediate priorities (Rodwell, Ndong & Djilobodji to name a few) that it inevitably didn’t get the time and attention it probably deserved.
Ross spoke well after Luton and Barnsley’s automatic promotion was delivered about the need to think about how those clubs had a reliable structure and strategy that delivered results.
It’s easy to forget just where Sunderland were last summer and takeover or no takeover, it’s the big question in the coming years.
What exactly is the strategy to produce competitive squads season after season, while keeping the club financially stable?
Recruitment and scouting is the central aspect of that.