Sunderland AFC Opinion – ‘The new dawn has been built on smoke and mirrors. It stinks.’

The official confirmation that Kyril Louis-Dreyfus owned a mere 41% in comparison to Madrox's 59% came as a shock to many Sunderland fans. But what's next? Graeme Atkinson discusses

I would like to say yesterday’s revelations regarding Sunderland AFC’s shareholdings came as a surprise. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.

It merely confirmed what many had suspected for some time. The piss-taking party continues to be in full swing.

We were promised a new dawn, indeed a ‘new chapter’ under the umbrella of ‘openness and transparency’. As has now been confirmed, it was a charade built on smoke and mirrors.

With a combined share of 59%, Madrox continue to be the majority owners of our club. Understandably, against the backdrop of what went before this leaves many supporters feeling as though they were at best misled and at worst lied to.

Whatever way you slice it, it stinks.

From the beginning, through structured dialogue via supporters group Red and White Army, we asked for the truth. We asked for Sunderland AFC to be open and honest in order for some transparency to be brought into the ownership and club operations. Let us not forget that this request was nothing that the club had not already assured us all of from day one.

>> Read more: Who Owns Sunderland AFC?

A line written from Louis-Dreyfus’ letter introducing himself to supporters in March 2021 read:

“It’s important to be honest with you from the start.”

How can anyone now trust anything that the club say?

How can fans be confident that the custodians of the team they so passionately support are right and proper?

They cannot be confident and this is now the issue in hand.

Happier Times – Charlie Methven, Stewart Donald and Juan Sartori

Spinners and losers

So, what happens next?

Well, in the short-term there will likely be an attempt from the club to somehow spin these events as best they can in time for season card renewals. This is to be expected. In fact, it has already begun.

Quotes from Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven, published in the Athletic state that they are both apparently happy to ‘sell their shares’. Perhaps there would be more chance of believing this had we not already heard it before.

Stewart Donald, January 2020 “I didn’t really want to leave but I made a promise that I was not keen to outstay my welcome and would try and get it right…I have seen the requests from the fans groups and they have all said they would like me to leave. I have to do what I promised.”

Cleverly crafted statements following Louis-Dreyfus’ arrival will also be held up as simply being factual and that no ‘lies’ were told. Whatever people inferred from ‘a controlling interest’ is likely to be stated as ‘nothing to do with the ownership group’. Clearly this is nonsense. What was packaged up and shoved in front of supporters at the time was intended to put some distance between Madrox and the new chairman.

Remember also that Louis-Dreyfus also stated in his letter to supporters:

“Throughout good times and bad, you have been the one constant that this football club can always rely on. That support should never and will never be taken for granted.”

‘That support’, in League One, is essential to the financial running of the football club and despite this undeniable fact, it HAS been taken for granted. They took us all for granted, from the start and it is a betrayal of trust. That trust cannot be rebuilt while Madrox own any part of Sunderland AFC.

It is recognised that there is no simple answer to the problems presented here. But simply put, Madrox must go.