Sunderland are in the midst of a new era after the takeover by Swiss youngster Kyril Louis-Dreyfus last month – and he’s looking to score immediate promotion to the Championship.
A highly-protracted saga saw the 23-year-old finally take the reins at the Stadium of Light after clearance from the EFL, but he’s not been able to invest in the playing squad just yet as that will have to wait until the end of the season.
Changes are being made off the field though, with data analysts coming into the club in what looks like a restructure of the recruitment process and the whole backroom look of the Black Cats – which was started when Kristjaan Speakman was appointed as sporting director a few months ago.
Louis-Dreyfus seems to be totally dedicated to his role as majority shareholder of the club, with the Sunderland Echo revealing that he would move permanently to the north east when he obtained ownership of the club.
It’s all very exciting for Sunderland fans, and one of their former players has also given Louis-Dreyfus a big seal of approval.
Michael Gray spent 12 years at the Black Cats and is widely regarded as one of their more popular players from the past – and he’s detailed his first meeting with Louis-Dreyfus and has only positive things to say about him.
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“I was introduced to him by David Jones from Sky Sports, and he seems like a real down-to-earth young man,” Gray told The Football Faithful.
“He’s obviously enthusiastic. I liked his dedication of how many games he’s actually been to so far, he was going to the games before he actually took over the club. And he’s obviously still doing that now, which is great to see.
“He’s got his heart and soul into it. And he seemed very ambitious, where he wanted to move the club, which direction he wanted to move the club in.
“And he just said, I just hope everybody’s going to be patient with me. And I think you’ve got to respect that.”
“Now, we’re hoping that Kyril has got the club at heart from what I’ve seen so far, I believe he has.
“He wants to be a success. He’s put the money on the table. He wanted to buy the club. He wanted to be the main shareholder at the club. And now we’ve got to keep putting his hands in his pockets to bring that success and hopefully the people around him will help him do that.”
Sunderland fans were already on cloud nine due to recent form on the pitch and the takeover of Louis-Dreyfus, but Gray’s words will be very comforting indeed.
For someone who is massively connected with the club and has such a bond with them, Gray will have seen owners come and go and seen promises not being delivered, so the fact that he’s already optimistic by Louis-Dreyfus is a good sign.
The real challenge starts in the summer when Lee Johnson will need backing with some fresh faces regardless of what league Sunderland find themselves in – promotion this season will be expected by fans following recent results and there will be much anticipation on how much investment the Swiss-man will actually inject into the playing squad.