Date:Thursday March 23 2006
Sunderland chairman Bob Murray has reacted to recent fans protests by insisting that he will sell the club, but only under the right conditions.
Amid recent fans protests calling for his and the board's resignation, Murray has reacted by saying that he is willing to walk away from the club, but only if he receives an acceptable offer.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Murray revealed that he was deeply hurt by the recent suggestions that he was greedy,
'I am hurt that anyone suggests I am greedy, I was born from a Sunderland mining family and bought my local club.
'At the time it was a signature away from bankruptcy, on the way to the third division, with very poor attendances in the region of 12 to 14,000, ripped apart by conflict in the management and the boardroom and involved in numerous legal actions.
'I never planned to be in the job after 20 years but in all that time I have never felt there were a large number of investors out there.'
While his time at the club can be debated long and hard as to whether it has been a success or a failure, or a mixture of both, suggestions that he does not have the club's intentions at heart are wide of the mark. For all his failings, he is still a born and bred Sunderland supporter.
Despite this, a change is needed at the top on Wearside, and Murray's statement seems to suggest he would encourage an offer to take over him, but potential suitors are few and far between,
'The arrival of foreign money in football has scared off many wealthy locals and the fans' thirst for success to many seems unquenchable.
'I have already said that I’m prepared to walk away for the right person - the door is open. The price achieved for my stake in Sunderland AFC is secondary to the offer of investment into the team. I am the majority shareholder and if I just walk away now without any alternative that will not help the stability of the club or solve any problems.
'I have long-standing relationships with key and important stakeholders including our two supportive banks.'
And if any potential investor is reading, this is what Murray expects from you,
'If we receive an offer from a serious investor I would receive the same price for my shares as the other 4,000-5,000 Sunderland shareholders.
Also the club’s two banks will have to approve any acquisition and they are hardly likely to approve a sale to an individual or organisation which cannot fund Premier League status.'
The door is open, we're praying for someone (very rich) to walk in.
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