League One news: Sunderland ownership latest with Portsmouth rivals braced for boss exit as Barnsley and Blackpool make moves
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Sunderland chairman speaks amid ownership developments.
Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has revealed he’s yet to speak to the group linked with buying shares in the club.
Cryptocurrency group The Fans Together are said to be in talks with Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven, who own a 39 per cent stake in the Black Cats.
Sunderland chairman Dreyfus, who is the club’s majority shareholder, has now had his say on the issue.
In a statement released by the Frenchman, Dreyfus said: ‘(Shareholder) Juan Sartori and I remain wholeheartedly committed to Sunderland AFC and our collective focus is on preparing for the upcoming Championship season.
‘Neither I nor any employee from SAFC has had any dialogue with the cryptocurrency group ‘The Fans Together and although a timely conclusion to this matter is preferable, any transfer of shares must not compromise the club’s integrity.
‘All shareholders must also be qualified to take the club forward in line with EFL governance an have alignment with the values and principles of SAFC and it’s supporters, as well as our long-term strategy.’
The development last night came in the wake of The Fans Together going public on their effort to become involved in Sunderland, after their play-off victory last month.
A statement from the group released yesterday said: 'The Fans Together, an organisation dedicated to bringing large scale widespread fan ownership to reality, confirms it is in discussions with Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven to acquire all of their 39 per cent stake in Sunderland AFC.
‘In Sunderland, we have deliberately chosen a club with a large fan base that is in a sound financial state and we are keen to work with existing shareholders to continue to build on the momentum achieved through the recent promotion to the Championship.
‘While discussions are ongoing, we are unable to provide further information at this moment in time, however we will update fans and wider stakeholders as soon as possible.’
Robins boss looks set to take flight
Pompey’s League One rivals last night released a statement as talk intensified of the 44-year-old leaving Whaddon Road, after establishing the club in League One.
The statement read: ‘The board is conscious of the speculation surrounding the future of Michael Duff and would like to update Cheltenham Town supporters about the current situation.
‘Michael's contract at Cheltenham Town has a further year to run and we are extremely keen to keep him as our manager. To that end, the directors have put forward an offer to extend this contract and discussions remain ongoing.
‘It is common knowledge that Barnsley have requested permission to speak to Michael as part of their new manager recruitment process and we have now received an approach from a Championship club as well. Michael has been given permission to speak to both clubs but we remain hopeful that he will stay to continue his work at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium (Whaddon Road).
‘The interest in Michael and his coaching staff is testament to the club's remarkable success over the past three seasons.
‘Both the club and Michael are keeping in regular contact with a view to settling his future position as early as possible. We have made him aware, in the clearest way possible, of our wish for him to stay and are hopeful that will be his ultimate decision.
‘In the meantime, preparations for the 2022-23 season are continuing as planned and the board will be readying themselves for a number of different eventualities in order to try and give the team the best chance to start the new campaign as strongly as possible.’
New boys make move
League One new boys Forest Green have completed the signing of defender Corey O’Keefe.
The 24-year-old joins the club from Rochdale, after head of recruitment Richard Hughes opted to stay in Gloucestershire after being targeted by Pompey.
New Forest Green boss Ian Burchnall said: ‘We played against Rochdale twice with Notts County in the FA Cup and Corey was the stand-out player in both games.’