Sunderland takeover: Former striker has this message for Kyril Louis-Dreyfus as deal nears completion
Former Sunderland striker Phil Gray has delivered a message to Kyril Louis-Dreyfus ahead of his takeover.
The club’s prospective new owner attended Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat away to Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday, after which head coach Lee Johnson said he was hopeful that the completion of the takeover will help bring 'clarity' for everyone.
And the Echo understands Louis-Dreyfus was at the Academy of Light on Thursday with some reports suggesting he is considering relocating to the North East.
With the deal seemingly nearing approval, talk has turned towards what Louis-Dreyfus’ first moves should be.
And former Sunderland striker Gray says getting the structure and right individuals in place is key.
Following his transfer from Luton Town in 1993, the Northern Ireland attacker missed the start of the season after being involved in a car crash - but cemented himself as a favourite at Roker Park before his release three-years later.
Fast forward to 2021 and Sunderland are waiting for final approval from the EFL on a much-needed takeover deal.
Once given the go-ahead, the buy-out will see Stewart Donald sell a majority of his shares to Louis-Dreyfus, who will take charge at the Stadium of Light.
“He needs to get the right people into the club,” Gray exclusively explained to the Echo. “People who love the club.”
“I know the North East and people live and die for the club whether you’re in the Premier League or League One.
“People love the club day in and day out and that’s what makes the club tick.
“So he needs to get people in who actually love the club that could push the club forward.”
And when asked who could push Sunderland forward, Gray - who made 115 league appearances during his time on Wearside - had one name in mind, Kevin Ball.
“You look at Bally who is still there. I suppose he’s been a caretaker manager but has never really put himself forward.
“But it’s people like Bally who love the club, he loved the club when I was there and I’m sure he still does.”