As Sunderland's limp to relegation continues, it seems there are further hints emerging to suggest a takeover deal is at least progressing.
Here's a genuine question. Would you accept Sunderland being relegated to League One if it quickens the exit of Ellis Short from the club?
Seeing as last night's result means the former is now almost certain, perhaps the latter will now follow.
For nearly half an hour last night it seemed as if Sunderland could launch a late bid for Championship survival, but Ivo Pinto's last gasp equaliser at the Stadium of Light all but smashed the Black Cats hopes of avoiding relegation to League One. Confirmation of the drop inches ever closer and mathematical certainty is edging closer.
Will the Derby false dawn give way to the new dawn?
It's beginning to look a lot like the drop into English football's third tier will bring takeover talk to a head with further hints slowly emerging of the prospective process which may usher in new owners to the Stadium of Light.
There remains precious little doing the rounds in public bar occasional flurries of 'In The Know' hints on social media. Even the rumours about a takeover are taking place behind closed doors at present but it seems that perhaps something is progressing and that this week may see the beginning of the next phase of negotiation.
There are a few clues around for those seeking to sniff out what's going on.
Ex-players dropping clues?
Take for example Roker legend Marco Gabbiadini's recent declaration on BBC Radio Newcastle that he would have welcomed a victory for Derby County when the two sides met on Good Friday if it hastened the exit of Ellis Short from Sunderland AFC.
That remark - which didn't go down too well amongst Sunderland fans - appeared at the time to be little more than the former striker displaying a preference for one of his old teams over the other, but perhaps there was a little more to it, and perhaps it actually hinted that the outcome of the Easter weekend fixtures would go a long way to sorting out a buy-out plan at the Stadium of Light.
Supposition and speculation of course, but then take Exhibit B to add further fuel to that fire. Former player David Preece was a guest of the Totally Football Show podcast on Monday and amongst other comments on the potential takeover situation at the club, he claimed that the unlikely 4-1 victory at Derby had muddied the waters and delayed any deal. Was that the same deal that Marco may have referenced when he suggested a Sunderland defeat might not be a bad thing?
Preece went on to suggest that SAFC's fleeting boosted hopes of remaining in the Championship - as a direct result of that scoreline at Derby - had impacted upon the progress of talks with Ellis Short. Now that we know the result was little more than a false dawn, perhaps plans are now again moving forward for a buyer to purchase Sunderland as a League One club.
This week as a deadline & what for?
So, moving further on from that chatter, there are rumours elsewhere that early this week marked the conclusion of whatever stage prospective bidders have reached in their negotiations with Short.
The suggestion that this week has marked some deadline or other, may mean that Sunderland AFC have declared that expressions of interest should be backed up by detailed plans submitted by bidders for further consideration to be received by about now.
Or perhaps those interested parties had requested that a response be received from the club's owner as to the direction he wishes to direct the takeover process. That may mean a preferred bidder will emerge in due course to enter due diligence proceedings regarding a purchase of the club from Short.
Who really knows bar those close to the negotiation, but it seems reasonable to cautiously conclude that things may be moving along now that this week's deadline - whatever it was - has been passed. 😉