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Sunderland to begin new era under Donald with ‘pretty hefty’ transfer budget

The Eastleigh chairman paid former owner Ellis Short £40million as part of the takeover.


Sunderland Press Conference – Stadium of Light

Sunderland Press Conference – Stadium of Light

Sunderland Press Conference – Stadium of Light

Ailing Sunderland can approach next season’s League One campaign debt free and with a “pretty hefty” transfer budget after Stewart Donald completed his takeover of the club.

Donald said his level of investment in squad improvements for the as-yet-unnamed new manager will dwarf that of the Black Cats’ new third-tier rivals, who will include Rochdale, Fleetwood and Accrington.

And the Eastleigh chairman, who will relinquish his position with the National League club as part of the terms of his takeover, said he hoped to have a successor to Chris Coleman announced within the next seven days.

Donald told a press conference: “Looking at the numbers we have put through, the budget for Sunderland is going to be pretty hefty for League One.

“It’s going to be a lot more than any of the teams that got promoted last season had got. It’s going to be a good budget for Sunderland and I’m sure it’s a budget one or two Championship clubs would like.”

Donald revealed he paid former owner Ellis Short £40million as part of a deal which also included Short paying off the club’s nine-figure debt, effectively leaving them debt free for the start of the new campaign.

Despite previous reports to the contrary, Donald and his business partner Charlie Methven confirmed they are not being backed by an international consortium, but would welcome further investment going forward.

Methven said: “What became clear very early in the process was the time-scale was getting very crunched, and anything that delayed the takeover was going to have a material impact on this summer’s business.

“We took advice… and what became clear was that the process would be quicker and more straight-forward if the club was simply taken over by Stuart.

“There are other people that we both have in mind who have further capital and contacts that could be useful for the club going forward. But Stuart will be the major shareholder whatever happens.”

Donald, who said he had no influence on the dismissal of Coleman which was effectively Short’s last act of an increasingly unpopular reign, said the managerial position is now the priority.

Former Sunderland midfielder Alex Rae has become favourite with a number of bookmakers, while St Mirren boss Jack Ross is another name in the frame to replace Coleman.

Donald added: “We would hope probably seven days maximum (for an appointment).

“Obviously we’ve got to move because we need the manager to have as much of the summer as possible to assemble his squad and assess what he’s got.

“I would be very surprised if by the weekend we are not able to tell you who that might be.”