Will winds of change at Sunderland blow in a hurricane or gentle breeze?

In the words of Dog in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, “Can everybody please stop getting shot!”

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 2:40 pm
Stewart Donald

You know the scene where the the drug heist isn’t going quite to plan and everyone is getting caught in the crossfire? That’s what it feels like at the minute both on Wearside and here in Sweden.

In Sunderland, the perpetual tumult that is par for the course at SAFC remains on trend with the news of an impending second takeover in a year.

A year of ups and downs, ending in Wembley frowns, just wasn’t enough for this club. No, we need to add something more substantial into the mix. Another year with the same owners would be just boring, right?

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In association with

There’s an obviousness that if Sunderland is to return to the Premier League in the near future, the need for sources of investment out-with the current regime is blatant but a takeover so soon after such a long time yearning for the last seems very Sunderland to me.

Nostradamus would have never made a reputation if his job had been predicting the future of Sunderland Football Club.

I guess that’s just football though, isn’t it? It’s a relentlessly moving machine that runs at breakneck speed. What’s here today, is gone tomorrow and those that stand still are left behind. I dare say Stewart Donald saw much further ahead than 12 months as steward at The Stadium of Light but circumstances and chance have changed that notion.

I’m assuming it’s a Godfather type offer that cannot be refused. Either that or the realisation has dawned what is actually needed to take the club further has arrived far quicker than first thought.

From a business perspective, it makes sense. Donald’s sincerity stood the test of the initial questioning of it and whatever happens now he has been a genuine force for good at the club. Of that there is no doubt.

The doubt now comes from the uncertainty that every new investor brings. From the sound of it there will be some continuity at the club through Donald and also keeping Jack Ross in place but still, when new winds blow through we never know for sure whether it will be a hurricane or a breeze. Only time will tell.

Like I said though, this is football and the only constant is change. It’s why that despite the game being written and talked about more than ever, the pit of content it’s mined from is infinitely deep. And that is even from what is known above and just below the surface.

Of course the art of journalism is to find out what goes on beneath that further still and now that I am back inside the football bubble, the workings of the game inside the engine room made me realise that there is always more to every situation than meets the eye. However straight forward football might seem to everyone, it rarely is.

As the saying goes, football is a simple game complicated by those who play it but it’s a saying that is way out of date. Football is alchemy and those who produce the kind that succeeds are wizards. I’ve fallen in to the trap of labelling players and managers lucky in the past but when success happens, luck couldn’t be any further from the case.

The rules of football may be simple but that’s because the football itself is the easiest and most enjoyable part of the job. What is difficult is everything else that surrounds it and more often than not it’s the outside influences on players and managers that dictate what happens on the pitch and if everyone knew exactly what goes on in between every game then it would make you revise how much you actually know about football.

That’s certainly one thing I have been forced to admit since entering the game again at ground level. As a player you think you know it all and when you enter the world of the media, you use that experience to tell others how it is. Then you become a coach or a manager and what you get is a rude awakening.

Everyone thinks coaching and management is about you teaching others about football but the dynamic is actually the other way around. What coaching does is teach you that you know about the game is minuscule and you have so much more to learn. So much so it feels like you’re starting all over again.

That’s why I laugh when someone tells me they “know football” when even the people at the heart of it hardly know it at all.