This is why Stewart Donald has not been attending Sunderland games - and when he'll return
Stewart Donald says he will start attending Sunderland games again and says he needed ‘a short rebalance’ after a gruelling 18 months in charge.
Donald has not been at the Stadium of Light in recent week, with Executive Director Charlie Methven attributing that to abuse he has suffered.
The Chairman said fans have been ‘generally impeccable’, however, and accepts that there is a need for him to lead from the front with results on the pitch particularly poor.
“I’m going to Gillingham next week,” he said.
“18 months has been intense. Last summer, the investment, talking through all the options, has been intense.
“We all have families, we all have situations, I’ve put Sunderland right at the forefront of my life.
“Charlie made a comment about us being part-time, it’s 70 hours a week easy. What I said to the guys was, we’ve changed the manager, we’ve got the investment, I need to work if I can at home for six weeks or so. Unfortunately I’m now an only child as my sister has passed away, my mum and dad are ill and are relying on me, my children had not really had me around for quite a long period of time.
“So I said to the guys, just give me a break for a month or so, I’ll still do the work but in Oxford.
“Now, the results on the pitch haven’t been so good,” he added.
“I saw Grant Leadbitter say on Tuesday night, we need to be one club top to bottom, and that starts with me.
“So I thought, well, I needed a break but I’ve said to the family, I need to get back up there for a couple of games.
“The fans have been top drawer, but when you’ve had that level of work, I just needed a short rebalance.”
Donald has also come off social media, saying that was purely because ‘it wasn’t helping the club’.
“The fans have been amazing,” he says.
“The ten years that they had before, the number of wins etc, but I firmly believe that Sunderland fans are the best in the world.
“It’s an area that is just not replicated anywhere. You cannot, cannot knock them.
“They could have not turned up, and they’ve done so in their tens and tens of thousands.
“Yeah there are some comments on social media, and I think if people want to criticise the fact that I was on twitter, that I changed the manager, that’s fair game.
“The thing I take exception to, is calling me something I’m not.
“The general behaviour and feeling from Sunderland fans has been absolutely impeccable and yeah, you get a few but blimey, you have to accept in modern-day football.
“The reason I came off twitter is that it wasn’t helping the club.”