Phil Parkinson succeeded the sacked Jack Ross in October but has had to endure a difficult few months at the Stadium of Light.

Accordingly social media was soon ablaze with supporters arguing the case for “Donald In”, a minimum of within the short term. A restorative win against Lincoln had apparently softened hearts and minds towards Parkinson, while possibly reprising memories of Donald’s Wearside honeymoon when he drank with fans after joining them in replacing sun-bleached plastic seats at the Stadium of sunshine.

As their Newcastle counterparts discovered with Mike Ashley, owners who share beers with supporters can have clay feet but, by Thursday, the mood had mellowed to the purpose where the coalition issued a second, reconciliatory ‘we’re beat this together’ statement.

It seems an owner who has attended communicate directly with supporters’ leaders instead of through local reporters had made some reconnections and a tense, fragile rapprochement was reached.

Significantly any sale would be complicated by Sunderland’s £9m loan from a gaggle of yank investors, FPP, linked closely to Michael Dell, of Dell computers. Donald acknowledges that, should he default repayment, FPP will assume control of Sunderland.

More immediately, the loan – which Donald says he can repay – should help Parkinson reinforce the squad this month, with Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp among his attacking targets.

“We wondered what might happen when the owner made his statement but football clubs aren’t easy to sell and zip are going to be done overnight,” says Parkinson, addressing a sparsely filled media room. “The chairman’s said that although he’s willing to sell, he’s still 100% committed to helping us. He wants to try to to everything he can to enhance the squad during this window. He and therefore the fans have had their say; now we’d like everyone to tug together.” judi bola online

Before Christmas Parkinson looked extremely strained. Now he appears quietly confident. “Real pressure’s being at Bolton when the wages aren’t paid,” he says. “It’s a privilege to manage Sunderland.”

Strangely results have improved because the vitriol intensified. “The players have grown a tough shell,” says Parkinson, whose switch to 3-4-3 appears transformative. “It’s created a siege mentality. It helps that I never go near social media – and that i tell the lads to dam it out too.”

Ian Todd cannot avoid the doubtless grisly bigger picture. a daily on the train north from King’s Cross, the founder member of wear and tear Down South, Sunderland’s London-based supporters’ association, rarely misses a game .

“There’s always the frypan into fire concern about ownership changes,” he says. “I’ve certainly never been as concerned about the club’s long-term future. within the past, even when things were poor on the pitch, there was relative stability within the boardroom … But I’m still hopeful of a play-off place.”

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