Sunderland owner Stewart Donald closes Twitter account after ‘personal threats’ as fans wait on investment and new manager
Sunderland AFC owner Stewart Donald is taking a permanent break from Twitter following claims of ‘personal threats’ made against him.
Donald had used the social media platform to communicate directly with fans but he says the 'negatives now outweigh the positives’ and closed his account on Saturday evening.
Sunderland are currently on the lookout for a new manager, while investment talks with MSD Partners, the trio of American investors, remains ongoing.
There were reports from The Sun over the weekend claiming Donald - reported to value SAFC at around £50million - wanted an additional £15million if the club was promoted to the Championship and a further £25million if promoted to the Premier League.
But those reports were strongly denied and flatly rejected by Donald on Twitter before the account was closed.
Donald has also always previously insisted that he has never changed his asking price while in negotiations with the US investors.
Earlier this week The Sun claimed the takeover had collapsed but talks remain ongoing with the club calling for patience in a statement released on Friday night.
Donald, addressing Sunderland supporters directly, tweeted: “Sunderland AFC fans, I have always tried to communicate on social media & help fans but I think the negatives now outweigh the positives.
“I temporarily took a break but I will now do so permanently. I will just communicate via club channels which I think is what most want.”
Earlier in the evening, a Sunderland supporter tweeted Donald saying ‘If you appoint Parkinson or Ainsworth get ready for biggest backlash they are not good enough to manage our great club.”
To which Donald replied: “Yes the personal threats have already begun and I have been advised to get bodyguards or stay away.
“Thank you for the warning. Was there a backlash with Denis Smith when he came from York City or was he given time?”
In Friday’s club statement, Sunderland have asked for ‘patience’ and said they cannot comment until talks are ‘concluded one way or the other’.
It read: "The Board has consistently stated its desire to seek additional investment to enable the club to be competitive in whichever league it finds itself in.
“In League One, this [additional investment] is not a necessity, so it is a matter of looking to future requirements, if and when promotion is achieved.
“Discussions have been ongoing for some time, and continue to be so, but until those talks have concluded one way or the other the club cannot give further comment, owing to confidentiality agreements.
“Whilst we understand the desire of supporters to know how the process is developing, we would ask, please, for some patience. We will provide an update as soon as we are able to. In the meantime, please do not attach undue credence to speculation and theories from various sources, as they are unsubstantiated.
“Across all areas of the club we continue to operate and progress as usual. The business of the club is in good working order, as we look forward to an exciting few months on the pitch, including crucial League One matches and a last 16 League Cup tie against Oxford United.”