Sunderland chairman Bob Murray has again spoken out to try and quash the many rumours circulating about the club’s financial problems.
The rumours reached fever pitch several weeks ago when a local newspaper suggested that the club was on the brink of administration; Murray denied a financial crisis then, but it did little to dampen the speculation, and he’s spoken out again now with only seven days until the new season starts.
Many supporters voiced their frustration this week that crowd favourite Jody Craddock was sold to newly promoted Wolves for only £1.75m, and Murray said “There’s a big difference between having to operate in a difficult financial market – and having therefore to sell some players to reduce costs – and hitting financial melt-down.
“Of course, there will still be tough calls to be made and undesirable action to be taken for the good of the club going forward, but scaremongering does not help anyone. We have a 10-month plan, and we’re confident we can positively deal with the challenges ahead.”
Although Sunderland will still feature in matches screened by BSkyB, the appearance fees are drastically reduced for non-Premiership teams, and the chairman confirmed just how much the difference actually is: “Last season the club earned £600,000 every time it appeared live on Sky TV. When we start the new season at Nottingham Forest live on TV we will only earn £10,000. That is a financial fact – a difference of £590,000 a game. That’s a big difference for any business to handle and that’s why we have had to act.”
He continued, “It is factually incorrect and irresponsible to suggest that creditors are becoming impatient and imposing deadlines. What we need to deal in now is financial facts not fiction. Emotive language about asset stripping is not appropriate to our situation – hard decisions are being made to deal with the financial reality.”
And he urged supporters to forget the humiliation of last season’s performances and eventual relegation, and move on for the good of the club. “Last season is history and it’s gone. We all understand how supporters feel but what matters now is the future – it will achieve nothing continually looking back to the past.
“The spirit at the club, on and off the pitch, is positive again. We’re all focused on the job in hand and up for the challenge ahead this season – that is what matters now.”