Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain says he is relishing life on Wearside despite the club’s struggles on the pitch.
Bain has faced criticism since his arrival last year as the club undergoes a period of change behind the scenes, but the Black Cats chief says he is relishing the challenge of turning the club around and believes he has the skills to do so.
He said: “I came down here years ago with Alex McLeish years ago to look at a player – I can’t remember who – and the Stadium of Light was absolutely bouncing.
“We went back to Scotland that night talking about the football club. I remember right from the moment we came through the front door of the stadium being impressed with the setup.
“I’ve been in the Stadium of Light when it is rocking.
“I watched on TV from the Middle East when I knew I was coming here, the night we stayed up, and I can still remember going for a walk afterwards and thinking to myself that I’d made the right decision.
“If I was working with people who I felt weren’t prepared to take on the challenge, didn’t have the club’s interests at heart, and weren’t ready to take on the challenge, then I would have an issue with that,” he added.
“But we have a core team of people here and fundamentally the majority of them are from this area, and they go home on a night, talk to their neighbours, go for a drink – they face the same challenges, just in a different way that I do.
“I was asked the same question by a lady at the supporters night, and I said it was easy to enjoy your job when you work with nice people.
“People in the North-East are similar to us Scots, a similar kind of humour, similar background.
“You can look at the football club and say ‘yes, it has got many challenges’, but if I didn’t think we could continue to improve then that would be something to think about.
“But I genuinely come in here every day believing that we can turn this club around.”