Ex­or­bi­tant Cats’ costs give owner a fright

DON­ALD CALLS CLUB EX­PENSES ‘SCARY’ AS RE­BUILD­ING BE­GINS

The Chronicle - - Safc - By JAMES HUNTER SAFC Writer james.hunter@ncj­me­dia.co.uk

SUN­DER­LAND are bat­tling a huge fi­nan­cial bur­den as they pre­pare for League One – with Ste­wart Don­ald re­veal­ing the club’s ‘scary’ run­ning costs equal those of seven or eight third-tier clubs com­bined.

El­lis Short cleared the club’s £125m debt as part of the deal that saw him sell to Don­ald in a £40m deal ear­lier this month.

But that still left the new owner with a loss-mak­ing club which costs a small for­tune to run – even be­fore player wages are fac­tored in.

And aside from the com­par­i­son with the run­ning costs of other League One sides, Don­ald also says Sun­der­land’s cost-base is higher than the en­tire turnover of 20 teams in League Two.

Back-to-back rel­e­ga­tions will see club’s TV rev­enue plum­met 98% next sea­son, when com­pared to their earn­ings in the 2016/17 Premier League sea­son.

Don­ald has al­ready be­gun cut­ting costs, with a num­ber of staff leav­ing the club ei­ther through re­dun­dancy, re­tire­ment or for other jobs, while se­nior ex­ec­u­tives who are stay­ing on will take a huge pay cut.

Don­ald said of the fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion: “The num­bers didn’t sur­prise me be­cause I had them to for­mu­late an of­fer but was I sur­prised how bad they were?

“Yes. You look at Sun­der­land, the fan­base, the sta­dium, the po­ten­tial, you think it should be func­tion­ing pretty well.

“Then you look at the cost-base and you find that ex­clud­ing play­ers, run­ning this club costs more than 20 teams in League Two turnover, and that’s be­fore we pay a foot­baller. “That is quite scary. You could put to­gether seven or eight teams in League One and that would cost the same as the cost-base here, be­fore you pay a player. “So when you go into League One you think you’ve got a mas­sive fi­nan­cial ad­van­tage, we’ve ac­tu­ally got a fi­nan­cial bur­den that we have to deal with in a sen­si­ble man­ner. “We have all these fans pay­ing their money and the trick is to get that work­ing so that we can use to our ad­van­tage, rather than pay­ing Ste­wart Don­ald costs which in all hon­esty is a han­gover from the club think­ing it was go­ing back to the Premier League when it didn’t. “That’s a job to do.” Don­ald will have to put some of his own money into the club to help new man­ager Jack Ross re­build the squad.

And the owner says he needs to make the right calls if he is to avoid wast­ing money.

He said: “It’s not un­usual for me to buy a busi­ness, I’ve done it plenty of times in the last few years.

“I’ve got a team of peo­ple that help me and I’m 100% cer­tain I know ex­actly what I’m walk­ing into.

“It’s go­ing to be hard work, chal­leng­ing, and I need to make sure I get an aw­ful lot more right than I get wrong, and the bet­ter I do that the less it will cost me.

“But I’m 100% aware of what the po­ten­tial li­a­bil­i­ties are.”

Ste­wart Don­ald

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