Sunderland legend verdict on American investors takeover plans and Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven roles
Gary Bennett has welcomed the planned takeover of Sunderland AFC by a group of American businessmen - and is pleased Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven will still have a key role.
John Phelan, Glenn Fuhrman and Robert Platek, principals of MSD Partners LP, are leading the bid to take a controlling stake in Sunderland, with tech magnate and long-term business partner Michael Dell involved as a minority investor.
The deal, which would need to be cleared by the Football League, is at an advanced stage.
Club legend and former skipper Bennett says if the deal does go through then it has to be about “long-term growth and using any investment sensibly” - and he welcomes Donald and Methven still having a big say in the day-to-day running of the club.
The Echo understands Donald would still maintain an ownership stake in the club, with the pair expected to stay on as directors under the new regime.
Bennett told the Echo: “I would certainly welcome the investment, though of course nothing is done until you dot the i's and cross the t's.
“Ellis Short, of course, invested a lot of money into the football club but it is about the way it is managed.
“Stewart Donald has been straight up from the off and said he would need more support if they went up to the Championship.
“That is understandable, we have hopefully some people who will come in and invest.
“It is about long-term growth, management and let’s not get our head in the clouds and straight away people are talking about x amount being spent.
“People can get carried away with the finances and who might come into the football club.
“We have to learn from where we were and where we are at the present moment.”
On Donald and Methven, Bennett added: “Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven have done a lot of good work at the club, not just behind the scenes but on the pitch as well.
“They know the situation of where the club was and where it is now, Stewart and Charlie have an idea and understanding of what the club is all about and where they need to be.
“I am pleased that they would still have a role at the club and welcome the fresh investment but it has to be about long-term growth and using any investment sensibly.”
Dell is not expected to take an active role in the running of the club but will be an investor as part of the deal.