Sunderland fan group again demands ownership answers with meeting date revealed

A Sunderland fan organisation has confirmed it will again be meeting with club bosses this month – with questions over ownership again on the agenda.
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Managerless Sunderland are in crisis and their automatic promotion hopes severely dented following three straight defeats in League One.

Frustrated fans want to see a manager appointed and have also again raised questions over the ownership structure at the club and who owns what shares.

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Those questions will be on the agenda when representatives from the Red and White Army fan organisation meet club officials on February 16.

At a previous meeting, which involves a number of fan groups, it was explained that as the main shareholder Kyril Louis-Dreyfus can make some decisions unilaterally, while other decisions require shareholder agreement. Stewart Donald, Charlie Methven and Juan Sartori retain small stakes in the club.

However, the full breakdown of who owns what shares has yet to be made public despite the takeover going through earlier this year.

Following concerns from some supporters, questions have also previously been put to the club asking for clarity over the exact role and involvement of Methven and Sartori.

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Posting on Twitter after the defeat at Cheltenham Town, RAWA confirmed: “We've a meeting with SAFC on 16th and already have lots of questions including off-field issues we've already raised but haven't been satisfactorily addressed.

Sunderland fans at Cheltenham Town.Sunderland fans at Cheltenham Town.
Sunderland fans at Cheltenham Town.

"Who owns what shares? Why is the club so understaffed? And many more. That's before we start on the last couple of weeks.”

Sunderland slumped to their third straight defeat in League One, a shocking run of results with the search for a new manager still ongoing, 11 days after Lee Johnson was sacked.

Roy Keane remains the favourite to take charge, however Grant McCann and Alex Neil are also in the frame, further interviews held on Tuesday ahead of the embarrassing defeat at Cheltenham Town.

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The Black Cats took a first-half lead when Alex Pritchard converted an excellent free-kick, yet the visitors couldn’t make their advantage count.

Second-half goals from Cheltenham’s Elliot Bonds and Alfie May turned the game on its head.

Former Sunderland forward and Echo columnist Stephen Elliott took to Twitter following the game to slam the result – and urge action from the owners.

Sunderland’s chances of automatic promotion had already taken a huge dent prior to the defeat at Cheltenham Town.

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Back in November, Louis-Dreyfus was asked about the specific issue of ownership by fan group Red and White Army during their regular structured dialogue meetings.

Louis-Dreyfus said: “I spoke to Steve and Kristjaan this morning and they immediately highlighted the concerns raised with regards to the club’s ownership and that is why I’m writing to you today.

"The project we are undertaking can only be successful with the full support and trust of our fan base and as I have stated before, it is my desire to lead SAFC with openness and transparency.

"At present, I’m unable to share the details of the shareholder's agreement due to confidentiality clauses but will be in a position to do so in due course. I would like to reiterate that I hold a governance majority which was non-negotiable for my involvement.

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"It places me in direct control of the club’s long-term strategy and day-to-day operations.

"Alongside the Executive Team and staff, I’m totally committed to working side-by-side with our supporters to deliver long-term success to the people of Sunderland and our wider community."