Stewart Donald and Jack Ross have this message for Sunderland supporters
Jack Ross and Stewart Donald will use the pain of the heartbreaking Wembley defeat to spur the club on next season with the Black Cats targeting promotion at the second time of asking.
Sunderland’s late 2-1 defeat to Charlton Athletic, the Addicks scoring six seconds from time, condemned the club to a second season in the third tier.
The defeat left Ross ‘devastated’ and Donald ‘sorry, gutted, embarrassed’ but the pair say they will use that pain to drive them forward next season.
Donald, who is looking to bring in an investor this summer, has already given his full backing to Ross as the club plots a way to bounce back from the play-off final defeat.
The owner says the hard work is already well underway.
Donald said: “They [the fans] have lived in hope this year and I am all the things I think they would want me to be; sorry, gutted, embarrassed that I am the chairman that has delivered Sunderland their worst ever finish in the history of the football club.
“That sits badly with me and it hurts but I have to use that to spur myself on.
“The only thing I can promise them is - whether we get any investment in the summer and whether that slightly changes the structure of the club - I will be here doing my best whether I have 100 per cent, 75, 50, 25 per cent - whatever it is.
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“I will be here and I am certain Jack Ross will be here and we will work as hard as we possibly can over the summer to make us as strong as we can be, we know we have work to do and we are already doing that work.
“We have work to do on and off the field and we will do our best to do it.”
There will be a summer revamp on Wearside, Robbin Ruiter has already announced he is departing after two years at the club.
Ross has praised the support of the club’s fanbase and says he will strive to give them the reward they deserve.
Ross said: “I am devastated for the supporters, for the players and staff, the fanbase that has been incredible over the season.
“They will always be there, long after me, and I am genuinely gutted for them, I came here to deliver them success and as long as I am here I will strive to do that.
“There is a soreness and emotion at the moment but we have to use it as a driver to make sure if we are ever back here again or in a position of achieving success that we make sure we come out the other side of it.”