An open letter to Stewart Donald: this may be the last thanks you get!

From Mike Ashley to Loris Karius, here's my open letter to Stewart Donald. This football business can be an absolute laugh, right until a ball actually gets kicked.

by David_Barwise Sunday, 27 May 2018 03:19 PM Comments

From Mike Ashley to Loris Karius, here's my open letter to Stewart Donald. This football business can be an absolute laugh, right until a ball actually gets kicked. 

Dear Mr Donald, 

I hope you're keeping well. Or at least better than Loris Karius. 

(Cheap shot. No regrets.) 

I just want to start off by saying thank you. Thank you for sparking some excitement back into a beige-cladded club that seemed to have lost all purpose. Thank you for the shot of adrenaline that would have otherwise seen us dead on the canvas. 

I'd have to scroll eight managers back to rediscover this level of cautious optimism, and a glance inside the beehive known as the Stadium of Light ticket office shows I'm not alone. 

But it is cautious, this optimism. 

We know that you "get it"; the official Sunderland AFC website says so. But, eagerness and passion for the club can only take you so far. The evidence is there in black and white and vomiting in a pub's fireplace. 

I think the key point I'm trying to make here is that even though this is now your club, it belongs to us too. 

By taking on a club of this size, you're entering into a marriage – where franchise and fan take each other for better or worse and make each other stronger. But like all relationships, there will be bad days, and you will need to make sacrifices to make it work. In return, we will be loyal and will buy you flowers on special occasions (just ask Mrs Advocaat). 
Right now it's the honeymoon period (I promise this laboured metaphor ends here) where anything is possible. It's the off-season and, until the lads take to the centre circle, the only limit is our imagination. 

But once the floodlights spark into life, the attention will shift to Red Ross and the eleven pitch-bound warriors. You'll never tread the boards of centre stage again, and if you do it'll be for all the wrong reasons. 

This week's redundancies were devastating for the community, but they were unavoidable and will never be associated with you. But what happens when Sunderland start their campaign with a loss? What happens when the side look unconvincing when holding Luton town to a draw? 

You may have to sign your name to some tough decisions. When you get them right, the manager/player gets the plaudits; when you get them wrong, your critics will point to your signature. 

It's a thankless job. 

I've said it before and I'll never stop bringing it up: to be "passionate" literally means to "suffer", so don't expect smooth cruising once you've got us back on track. 

There is more on the line than your bank balance. 

I believe that you know all this already. I just want to remind you that this club is the community's heartbeat that happens to be a great investment opportunity. Not the other way around. 

As the man with the plan, as the authority with the priorities, please never forget that. 

Yours sincerely, 

Your newest biggest fan. 

P.S. If you could fix the pink seats too, that'd be swell.