Former Sunderland owner Ellis Short was forced to sack manager Chris Coleman and clear Sunderland’s debts of around £140m before selling the club to Stewart Donald, the chairman of the National League club Eastleigh.
Sportsmail (via Mail Online) reports the Donald’s deal to take over the club would not have gone through had the manager and the debt remained in place, leaving Short with no choice but to pay out Coleman’s two-year contract and fork out a further £70m owed to him by the club as well as settling bank loans last recorded at £70m.
The American billionaire has been desperate to sell the club and end his nine-year stint since the end of last season, which saw Sunderland finish bottom of the Premier League, and has now taken a financial hit, finally ridding himself of the burden of funding losses of around £500,000 per week.
Sunderland’s new owner, Stewart Donald and his group of foreign investors will now appoint their own choice in manager to lead the club back to the Premier League with former Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy, ex-Oxford United coach Michael Appleton and Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder among those under consideration.
Coleman, who stood down as manager of Wales in November to take over at Sunderland in a bid to save the club from back-to-back relegation, was informed on Sunday morning that his five months on Wearside were over – despite the Welshman speaking of his desire to rebuild the club, preferably under new owners.
Short broke the news of the takeover in a statement released by Sunderland, where he expressed his sadness of the situation and where the American revealed that things didn’t go as it was originally planned and that ‘a decade of Premier League football have been overshadowed by the low points of the last two seasons’.
“It is no secret that I have been trying to sell Sunderland. But I have waited until the right group came along that have experience, finances and a plan to take this great club back to where it deserves to be. Overall, my chairmanship has not gone the way I would have wished. The many high points of a decade in the Premier League have been overshadowed by the low points of the last two terrible seasons,” Short said in the statement.