Sunderland takeover: Almost 200 days on and fed-up and concerned fans having to wait longer than they'd like for 'Sold' signs to appear
Soon it will be coming up to 200 days since Stewart Donald publicly said he was actively looking to sell Sunderland AFC.
Still fans wait for the ‘SOLD’ sign to go up.
The relationship between the vast majority of the fanbase and the club’s owners has eroded to such a point that there is no other alternative than for Donald & Co to sell and move on.
There is a growing mistrust and deepening divide.
Built up over the past 18-months and hammered home in spectacular fashion during the long break since the players last kicked a football in anger, way back in March.
The season ticket fiasco, the ongoing parachute payment issue, increasing concerns over the future of the academy and the number of young talented players being sold, i.e the club’s future.
The loyalty of the fanbase taken for granted too many times.
The list of reasons why the bulk of fans want to see Donald & Co depart grows by the week.
Yet the fanbase is having to remain patient given there is no takeover deal seemingly close, against the backdrop of a global pandemic and the knock-on effect of fans not being allowed back in stadiums yet, income dropping off a cliff, cashflow concerns and incoming financial measures such as salary caps which will impact Sunderland more than most.
There remains interest in the club, which is promising, but fans have genuine concerns around how serious Donald is about selling and how soon.
With the new season just around the corner - hopefully by early September League One will return to some sort of new reality - then there is little time to waste in terms of recruitment, building a squad capable of winning promotion at the third time of asking and preparing the players.
All with the backdrop of the ongoing uncertainty around who will own the club moving forward.
While it is almost 200 days since the club was publicly put up for sale, Sunderland fans will be all too aware this has been going on for longer than that, over a year now.
Mark Campbell came close to purchasing the club last summer, before Glenn Fuhrman, Robert Platek and John Phelan also engaged in advanced takeover talks before finalising a loan deal instead.
A Saudi-based consortium were linked back in April but it never came to anything, while there were new reports on Sunday that Sammy Yu - who had previously told the Echo money would be no problem - and his Hong Kong-based consortium were still interested and had been ‘frustrated’ in their attempts to buy the club, receiving little encouragement from the owners, amid concerns over their suitability.
Another report over the weekend focused on an unnamed group who had contacted the club regarding a potential takeover but didn’t receive any follow-up correspondence.
Madrox, the company set up as the vehicle to acquire the club and in which Donald, Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven are shareholders, say they have spoken to a number of interested parties with conversations ongoing, stressing they are not aware of ‘any genuinely interested parties’ that haven’t had an official reply from them.
Madrox admitted to the Echo in May the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed the process and stated they’d only sell to a buyer who had the ‘long term future of the club and its well being at heart’.
The concern among fans is what the future of the club looks like under Madrox. What the future of the academy looks like, despite promises the owners remain committed to it’s Category One status.
There has been a lot of talk this summer - and a lot of mistakes too - but ultimately actions speak louder than words.
And the only action an ever increasing portion of the Sunderland fanbase wants, is for Donald & Co to sell.
Fed-up, frustrated and increasingly concerned fans wait with baited breath.
Donald has always publicly said he wouldn’t outstay his welcome on Wearside but saying goodbye is taking longer than many hoped it would.