Now that the summer transfer window’s closed, SAFC chairman Bob Murray has spoken publicly about the club’s strategy for reducing costs, including selling some crowd favourite players.
“It’s been very tough at times, but I’ve learnt a lot over the summer”, Murray said in a statement tonight.
“There were four main areas where we had to act quickly and decisively. Firstly, we had to cut costs across the whole business and secondly we had to go through a painful redundancy programme to cut staff numbers.
“After this, our focus shifted to the playing squad because we knew we would have to cut the number of players as well as reducing the wage bill.”
Murray acknowledged that some players have been sold whom supporters would rather have seen retained, but said sales were made simply for the good of the club. “I accept that many supporters wanted the club to retain some players, or only to sell other individuals at a certain price.
“Sadly, we didn’t have the luxury of holding on to some of our higher wage earners. It wasn’t a matter of choice.”
But as a result of moving on a total of 23 players, the wage bill at SAFC has been halved – and he said that EVERY Sunderland player agreed to the wage deferral scheme, despite rumours that some players had refused to agree to the PFA-negotiated scheme.
And the chairman said everyone at the club was now looking forward to moving on positively through the season, with uncertainty over player movements temporarily not a factor. “It’s really important for Mick and the players because they now know who is here to stay and can concentrate solely on getting results.
“Mick has been very understanding of the situation and what he inherited since he arrived. We hope his influence is becoming more apparent with a settled team.
“We’ve also brought three new players in, and the only player to figure in the last three victories that has had to leave was Kevin Kilbane who had only 10 months left on his contract.
“We’ve made considerable progress over the summer and achieved everything we set out to do.
“We all hope the last three games were the seeds of long-term recovery – but no one is complacent. We know there is still a way to go.”