Last week, a report from the Daily Mail claimed that Stewart Donald used one of the club’s £20.5 million parachute payments (due after relegation from the Premier League) as part of his deal to purchase the club from Ellis Short through Madrox Partners, his holding company.
The report suggested that despite previous indications that the money would be repaid to the club, it has been written off by Donald and the other shareholders, therefore removing their legal obligation to return the money to the club.
In an interview with the Sunderland Echo, Madrox, which counts Donald, Juan Sartori, and Charlie Methven as shareholders, reassured fans that the parachute payments would be replaced and revealed that the decision was made ahead of FPP’s investment in the club last year.
Madrox said: “When entering into the investment with FPP it was a condition of the agreement to do so. The terms of that agreement are confidential but clearly for them to invest in Madrox it is cleaner and gives them more comfort if Madrox has no liabilities.
“This, however, does not prevent Madrox from investing funds in Sunderland to replace the parachute payments as promised.
“Indeed, since the writing off of the debt Madrox has done just that, providing an additional £11,375,000 to the club, thus replacing a large portion of the parachute payments as we promised we would do.
“We are still only two years into our original five-year financial plan and we explained to the fans very early on that these monies would be replaced over time. That is exactly what is happening and actually at a faster rate than originally planned.”
The two years since the Donald-led takeover was completed in April 2018 have not been a particularly fruitful period for the club.
Sunderland suffered defeat in the League One play-off final last season and look unlikely to secure promotion this term either.
The Athletic has reported that the division will be ended early this week and that the favourite proposal for its completion, a weighted points-per-game system, will not see them finish in the top three.
Can you remember which Sunderland manager signed each of these 15 players? Have a go now!
This is somewhat reassuring for Sunderland fans, though given how things have gone under Donald you’d understand if they remained a little concerned.
It appears Madrox and its shareholders remain committed to repaying the parachute payments that were used in the takeover and are ahead of schedule in doing so.
On the pitch, it is looking increasingly likely that the conclusion to the 2019/20 campaign will leave a sour taste in Sunderland’s mouth.