Ellis Short 'actively' trying to sell Sunderland reveals chief executive Martin Bain

Sunderland owner Ellis Short.
Sunderland owner Ellis Short.

Martin Bain has confirmed Ellis Short is actively trying to sell Sunderland AFC - with a number of interested parties carrying out due diligence.

Short, based in the US, will continue to fund the running of the club in the meantime, confirmed the chief executive.

Bain last week met with representatives from fan group Red and White Army (RAWA), along with other fan groups, and in the minute's from the meeting confirmed work is ongoing to try and sell Sunderland, on the brink of relegation to League One.

The club’s precarious league position and crippling debt make any deal complicated and while a number of parties have expressed an interest, as of yet, no resolution is understood to be imminent.

The minutes read: "RAWA asked if there had been any update on the proposed takeover. MB (CEO) responded stating that the club are working hard to sell the club, there has been interested parties and due diligence has been completed by all to varying degrees."

On whether there is a different value depending on what league Sunderland are in, the minutes added: "MB stated that there are variation options on the sale, which includes the land around the stadium."

Bain was asked if there was any optimism a sale was imminent.

The minute's added: "MB (CEO) responded that Ellis Short is actively trying to sell the club. "The owner will fulfil his commitment to fund the running of the club until it is sold."

Bain also denied there would be any asset stripping in the meantime. "MB (CEO) responded noting that the sale of any player would not be asset stripping as all monies received would go into the running of the club.

"He confirmed he has not been pressured recently to sell young players and some have been offered new contracts."

The fan groups also put forward questions raised by supporters over whether lessons had been learned from this season and last?

"MB (CEO) replied that if a sale is not completed he would speak with Ellis Short to look at the investment needed to compete next season but conceded that the owner might only commit to covering any shortfall in the operating costs.

"RAWA asked if Ellis Short had been actively involved in the sale, MB said yes but he does not speak regularly about the day-to-day running of the club – just the potential sale."

As reported, North East business G O’Brien & Sons, whose interests include demolition and waste management, are the latest linked with a potential takeover as part of a consortium.

Last summer a German consortium came close to a takeover before it collapsed while there has also been reported interest from groups in Ireland.

Increased fan involvement around a range of issues including the match day experience was also discussed.

RAWA also asked if the club would consider appointing a supporters’ representative to the board, the minutes stated Bain "agreed in principle" with further talks planned.