Sunderland AFC news: Consortium headed by fans linked with move to buy Black Cats
A company reportedly behind a move to buy Sunderland was remaining tight-lipped as the saga surrounding the club took a fresh twist.
Reports on Monday claimed a consortium headed by television executives Leo Pearlman, Gabe Turner and Ben Turner are preparing an offer with former Arsenal defender Tony Adams and one-time Chelsea business affairs director Paul Smith part of the package.
Sunderland fans Pearlman and the Turners own Fulwell 73 Productions, which takes its name from one of the stands at the club’s former home, Roker Park, and the year of the Black Cats’ FA Cup final triumph over Leeds.
The company co-produces The Late, Late Show with James Corden and was behind the sports documentary The Class of ’92.
There was no comment from either Fulwell 73 or the club, which revealed last week it has held discussions with “parties who have expressed an interest in acquiring ownership of the club”, most notably a German consortium.
Current owner Ellis Short is actively looking to sell the Black Cats, who slipped out of the Premier League at the end of last season, after ploughing in excess of £200million of his own money into the business during his tenure.
Sunderland reported a loss after tax of £33million during the financial year to July 31, 2016 and have a net debt of £110.4million.
Chief executive Martin Bain has been searching for a new manager since David Moyes’ departure last month, but saw number one target Derek McInnes turn the job down last week with the ownership situation creating further uncertainty.
As a result, Short has put that mission on hold for the short-term – reports have suggested he will do so until the end of the month – in order to hold talks over a possible sale.
However, the early indications are that initial talks have not seen potential buyers come anywhere near his asking price of around £90million and it remains to be seen whether or not he can be persuaded to do business within the relevant time-frame.
The players are due to return for pre-season training on June 29 with coach Robbie Stockdale in line to take charge if no manager is in place when they do. The first friendly fixture is due to take place at Bury on July 7.
Meanwhile, long-term absentees Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore are already back in training as they step up their rehabilitation from knee ligament injuries in Portugal.