Exorbitant Cats’ costs give owner a fright
DONALD CALLS CLUB EXPENSES ‘SCARY’ AS REBUILDING BEGINS
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.”