Gyan and other Sunderland stars may be sold to balance books - Niall Quinn
Sunderland may be forced into selling some of their top-earning stars such as striker Asamoah Gyan and goalkeeper Craig Gordon, if the club are unable to attract fans back to the Stadium of Light, chairman Niall Quinn has admitted.
Asamoah Gyan may have to be sold if Sunderland's finances don't improve
Quinn has admitted floating supporters have drifted away from the Black Cats recently, with attendances for recent less-attractive home matches against the likes of West Ham and Bolton in December dropping to around 35,000.
On average Sunderland's 49,000-capacity stadium has been only around 80 per cent full this season - only Wigan, Blackburn and Bolton have less fans as a percentage of their capacity this year.
And Quinn said the financial implications of a less-than-full ground could begin to bite soon, despite the efforts of mega-rich club owner Ellis Short.
'If I don't win them back, the club may have to downsize and cut its cloth differently,' the Irishman said ahead of his proposed tour around the Wearside area in a bid to entice the fans back.
'It'll be difficult to follow up on the current investment and players may have to be sold.
'Manchester United have just announced turnover of £289m; ours is £64m. We can't compete financially with that, and we're missing 10,000 fans.'
Gordon was signed by former manager Roy Keane on a hefty five-year contract in 2007 - with his £10m transfer fee, including add-ons, potentially a British record for a goalkeeper.
And although Quinn admitted the club's financials are a concern, which could lead to the departure of other stars like Gyan despite the recent big-money sale of Darren Bent to Aston Villa, he said the lack of supporters inside the Stadium of Light was as much about atmosphere.
'Our missing 10,000 fans cost us £1.8m over the season so a figure like that won't make the difference in allowing us to compete - it is those fans being inside the ground and making it a hostile place for visiting sides that makes the difference,' he continued.
'What I want from our fans is their atmospheric input. That's what makes the place special.
'If they don't come back, we may not be the club I thought we were.'
Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/footbal...#ixzz1EhcS9XRP