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The Martin Bain Interview

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The Martin Bain Interview

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-09-18, 6:01 pm

Sunderland chief Martin Bain reveals all on finances, transfer budget and Ellis Short's plans for the club Bain has defended Short against allegations of 'asset-stripping


PHIL SMITH Email Published: 15:19 Updated: 15:59 Monday 18 September 2017 


Martin Bain believes the work done at Sunderland this summer will help to put the club on ‘an even keel’ in the future – and says Ellis Short continues to invest heavily in the club. 


Bain has overseen a turbulent period following the club’s relegation, which began with David Moyes’ resignation, saw takeover talks with an interested party conclude and ended with a dramatic squad overhaul led by new manager Simon Grayson. 


An indifferent start to the season has seen unrest escalate, with many frustrated that the money raised by Jordan Pickford’s sale has not been reinvested in the first team squad. Bain and owner Ellis Short have been accused of ‘asset-stripping’ ahead of a potential sale by some fans, but the chief executive says the owner continues to fund the club and says the money raised by Pickford’s sale was needed to ensure the ongoing running of the club. 


Bain also opened up to the Echo on the onerous financial obligations the Black Cats are still faced with when it comes to transfers concluded in previous years. Specifically, Bain says the £30million raised by the sale of one of Sunderland’s finest ever homegrown talents has been used in part to pay money owed to other clubs for previous transfers, including the near £10million owed to Inter Milan after the club lost their case regarding the loan of Ricky Alvarez in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Bain said: “The income drop after relegation, from £100million to around £40million, has to be considered and so does the wage bill, which is still significant for this level even though we have taken steps to reduce it. “We’ve brought in £30million for Jordan Pickford, but that is needed for the running of the club. 


Yes, that money comes in, but then you have to consider the money that went out on legacy transfer payments at the start of the summer. “Added to that we lose some of it when you consider Ricky Alvarez. A player we don’t have, a mistake from the past.” Bain rejected claims that Short has stopped funding the club, and says his role is to allow the investment made by the American to support long-term growth at Sunderland, rather than continue to fund debts and shortfalls. He added: “You may not see big transfer fees and I understand why supporters would question that. To put it simply, you take the shortfall from the Premier League to the Championship in terms of revenue, which is huge. 


Ellis funds that, which allows us, as an example, to sustain a competitive wage bill for this division. “Moving forward he’s not saying ‘I won’t write the cheques’, he’s saying ‘I don’t want to continue to fund losses, I want to fund growth and improvement’. “I think that’s where I come in, to turn the club around over a sustained period of time. Football and financial stability is my remit. Not within 12 months but hopefully not too long and then we can see Sunderland climb. “I know its repetition but I do genuinely believe the work we’ve done over the summer, everything we’ve done, not just transfers, if we had managed to get the results in recent weeks the mindset would be different.” 


That Sunderland have spent just over £1million in the market has been a source of contention, and the pervading feeling among the fanbase is that only a change of ownership can help restore the club’s fortunes. Bain says a new approach was needed under the current ownership after years of toil and financial losses. He acknowledges that investment is needed in the playing squad but says it must be under the backdrop of improved financial health. He said: “I’m sure that Ellis looks at the football club now and recognises that he’s made mistakes. “He spent an awful lot and now wants to do things differently. We have to do things in a way where we can get steady growth and be more sustainable, so that we’re not being kneejerk in what we do. “We couldn’t continue the way things have been in recent years but he is absolutely, categorically, still funding the club. “Looking at getting steadier growth – to change some of the identity issues that we’ve had and invest in different areas of the club – is so important for us to move forward. 


“When you’re in the situation which we’ve been in the past, you’re making last minute signings, you’re not doing what you set out to do, I can see why mistakes have been mad. “We made some last season and I hold my hands up to that. I just think we need to get things on an even keel so we can get it right and avoid those mistakes.” Despite some on-field struggles in the early part of the season, Bain remains confident that fortunes will turn and says the club is in a better place for a transformative summer. Sunderland’s previously onerous wage bill is understood to now be running at under half of the figure revealed in the club’s last set of accounts, covering the 2015/16 season. Bain said: “In terms of the governance of this club, we’ve brought in £40million, the wage bill has been brought down considerably, the operation costs have been brought down which is something that’s very important for the club. “When you look at it from that perspective, there is an impact being made. I really do believe it will turn, I know fans can’t see it at present because of the recent results but with some positive results we can say we’ve made progress. “There’s 10 new players out on that pitch, and they’ll be thinking, wow. They’ll have heard about the atmosphere, what a big club it is, and that’s why they’ve come here. “Fifteen players have left since we kicked the last ball last season, and 10 have come in. Youngsters have come through the system. That’s a huge transition and it will take time. “It’s been difficult in recent weeks, understandably, but I do believe it will turn in our favour.” *Martin Bain reflects on and explains Sunderland's summer transfer strategy in tomorrow's Sunderland Echo

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-09-18, 6:05 pm

I guess everyone's reaction will depend on how much they trust Short and Bain.

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-09-18, 6:21 pm

What I get from this is Short expected to make a profit or at least break even in owning a Premier League club. Imho that is not right and if he was sold that idea he did not do due diligence.

By and large owning a football club is a vanity project for extremely wealthy folk and loses money every year 

By not funding a couple of strikers for this season Short/Bain have brought the likelihood of relegation into play this season again. Bain should know this and he is not telling Short the truth if he is just being a yes man.

In other words Bains is talking bollocks
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Horatiocarter on 2017-09-18, 7:37 pm

Before the decision regarding Alvarez was made the club stated it had set the £10 million aside. Now Bain states it came out of Pickford's sale.


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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Nostalgic on 2017-09-18, 7:38 pm

It strikes me that he was conveying that the days of short-termism are over as our current position is a result of that.  Moreover, as a regional also-ran club, even though it has a great early history, we cannot compete with the big boys any longer any longer.

Either way, we are in a position to rebuild by being slightly more prudent than we have in the past and will just need to live with it for now.

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  paddocklad on 2017-09-18, 7:44 pm

What about the 99 mill we got for relegation and the parachute payments don't see that mentioned,the pair of them could not lie straight in bed
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Hieronymus on 2017-09-18, 7:58 pm

This is just rubbish and insulting to the ordinary fans who give their time, money and energy to support our club Mad

He says "you take the shortfall from the Premier League to the Championship in terms of revenue, which is huge." Yes indeed but what about the revenue of £99m we got from finishing bottom of the Premier League, plus £30m from Pickford's sale? Where has that gone in funding the ongoing operations if we have indeed halved the wage bill and Short is not taking money out of the club?

He talks about "We have to do things in a way where we can get steady growth and be more sustainable" Fine, I agree, but how does £1m investment in playing staff create growth or a sustainable future? And if we have to wait for the "transformative summer" he refers to, it may well be too late because in case he hasn't noticed we are just above the relegation zone. If we continue as we are then we will certainly be transformed, from a Championship to a League One club!

Then the best bit of all, where he says we need "to change some of the identity issues that we’ve had and invest in different areas of the club". What does that mean? What are these identity issues that need changing? Is he saying we are not a 'big' club so we need to start acting like a 'little' club? Is that right; are we the deluded ones, thinking that the club with the 7th best attendances in the country last year are not worth investing in? Evil or Very Mad

And exactly what different areas are now being invested in, at the expense of the first team, to make this apparently much needed "transformation" of our "identity"?

  • Turning the ladies part time and banishing them from their home ground, is hardly investing.
  • Making over 70 support staff redundant, including the long serving Rob Mason who probably knows more about the 'identity' of SAFC than anyone alive, is not investing.
  • Stopping the process of removing and replacing the 'pink' seats and taking away the Fan Zone, is not investing.
  • Stopping the summer concerts and the revenue stream and publicity from them, is not investing.


Or let me guess; salaries and pensions of the chief executive, chairman and directors perhaps?

Enough ranting, but this just says to me that the club have learned nothing Evil or Very Mad
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-09-18, 8:06 pm

The fan zone is still there just the live music stopped

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Billy D on 2017-09-18, 8:17 pm

So we've cut the wage bill, ploughed most of the Sky dosh & parachute payments into running costs & cutting debt.
All we need to known now is how much debt is actually left & is it sustainable?
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Silvers on 2017-09-18, 8:20 pm

I recall the same 'spiel' from Quinny after the sale of Jordan Henderson...

Bain is commenting on Short's 'policy'.
Company policy of a man who makes his money from the demise and takeover of companies.

Yes, over the last 10 years money has been spent.
We were having the same debate when Bruce was in charge.
We sold Gyan and Bent to balance the books.

But at our level it is absolutely essential to invest in the team.

We were relegated. We slashed our wage bill by supposedly 40% and got £100m for our trouble, followed by £30m for Pickford.

Toon invested to get straight back up.

Last season we won 6 games in total.
Toon have won 3 games already!

Yes, Short is funding the Club.   He has / had £130m  to do that.

I know that is too simplistic.
But investment in true quality is necessary. That won't happen I fear until Short packs up and goes back to his Mayfair pad.

Yes, I know we could get someone equally as bad..
Time will tell.

I keep alluding to the swan dive being experienced by the club.
In my eyes, we haven't arrested the fall.... yet.

Eight games in...   and just one win - 
... fact I'm afraid. Not gloom.

9 months since our last home win ?

Does it sound like the purse strings will be loosened in January?
I don't think so.

Once again, Russian Roulette.  They think they have invested enough for safety.

Let's hope so.
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Mackemneil on 2017-09-18, 9:14 pm

Whether the interview has been poorly reported or the conversation was anything but transparent is difficult to judge from the extract I have read, but, a little surprised at some of the comments regarding current financial position.

We know we are in the s**t financially and many of the topic discussed over the pat months have discussed and debated the role of both Short and Bain.

The accounts of 2015, summarised, are fairly clear:

Gate receipts of 10.8m, plus our income for finishing 17th of 69.1m and our commercial activity realising 21.1 m gave us an income/turnover of £101.1m.

Wages were at 77.1m, plus expenses including paying off sacked managers and staff 20.5m and player depreciation and amortisation (a lot of bad buys) of 26.8m, despite a 3.9 m profit on sales that year, interest payments of 6.6m ................. resulted in a Loss of £25.4m in 2015.

Accounts not available for 2016/17, but we know that gate receipts wont have changed much, prize money went up by some 30m and commercial will have ben about the same. But our wages will have gone up and we spent a fair amount under Allardyce/Moyes in assuring survival and in Moyes case buying duffers!! and having to write off players like Adam Johnson will have eaten up that additional income very easily. So, I expect that we made a similar loss last year too!!!!

We go into this season knowing that gate receipts will drop, prize money will  be less than half even with parachute payments. Balance that with the wage control from contact clauses and sales. Aside from Pickfords £30m, the rest of our disposals have been at a loss and NOT sales but loans. Can anyone see us doing anything but making a loss or at best breaking even? 

We still have debt of about £150m.

Bain has said we needed to stop the rot, but as yet not how we will get back to an even keel without debt, a point at which we can start to invest.

I suggest such investment under Bain will be in young promising players that will gain in value, including those coming from the academy. The "Southampton Model" perhaps, that means we will be a selling club for sometime.

This is going to be a long hall to get to where we want to be.

I am sure that many will attempt to pick holes in this analysis, but , this is roughly where we are!!!!!!!!! Spending more money on established players, has beens and journeyman at inflated prices is just more of the same. Which young promising players are likely to come to us at this moment with the "identity" currently attributed to this club that was described as rotten to the core? Time for change and to take our medicine!!
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  talcnturnip on 2017-09-18, 9:18 pm

Biggest load of utter bollocks I've heard in a long while. Do these people think we are all stupid? Also what is with all the middle management guff? the only thing we didn't hear was "blue sky thinking " and "putting stuff on the back burner". As I've said many times before debates about money at the club and we hear something like this, only this time it was the very strong rumours about going into administration.

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-09-19, 8:10 am

Mackemneil wrote:Whether the interview has been poorly reported or the conversation was anything but transparent is difficult to judge from the extract I have read, but, a little surprised at some of the comments regarding current financial position.

We know we are in the s**t financially and many of the topic discussed over the pat months have discussed and debated the role of both Short and Bain.

The accounts of 2015, summarised, are fairly clear:

Gate receipts of 10.8m, plus our income for finishing 17th of 69.1m and our commercial activity realising 21.1 m gave us an income/turnover of £101.1m.

Wages were at 77.1m, plus expenses including paying off sacked managers and staff 20.5m and player depreciation and amortisation (a lot of bad buys) of 26.8m, despite a 3.9 m profit on sales that year, interest payments of 6.6m ................. resulted in a Loss of £25.4m in 2015.

Accounts not available for 2016/17, but we know that gate receipts wont have changed much, prize money went up by some 30m and commercial will have ben about the same. But our wages will have gone up and we spent a fair amount under Allardyce/Moyes in assuring survival and in Moyes case buying duffers!! and having to write off players like Adam Johnson will have eaten up that additional income very easily. So, I expect that we made a similar loss last year too!!!!

We go into this season knowing that gate receipts will drop, prize money will  be less than half even with parachute payments. Balance that with the wage control from contact clauses and sales. Aside from Pickfords £30m, the rest of our disposals have been at a loss and NOT sales but loans. Can anyone see us doing anything but making a loss or at best breaking even? 

We still have debt of about £150m.

Bain has said we needed to stop the rot, but as yet not how we will get back to an even keel without debt, a point at which we can start to invest.

I suggest such investment under Bain will be in young promising players that will gain in value, including those coming from the academy. The "Southampton Model" perhaps, that means we will be a selling club for sometime.

This is going to be a long hall to get to where we want to be.

I am sure that many will attempt to pick holes in this analysis, but , this is roughly where we are!!!!!!!!! Spending more money on established players, has beens and journeyman at inflated prices is just more of the same. Which young promising players are likely to come to us at this moment with the "identity" currently attributed to this club that was described as rotten to the core? Time for change and to take our medicine!!
I guess I am in the stupid group with you Neil, very good company BTW, because until its proved differently your figures look believable to me.

Mind I did say at the outset people will interpret the interview in different ways.

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  paddocklad on 2017-09-19, 8:26 am

Interest payments of 6.6m and who benefits from that I wonder ........mmmmmm.......allegedly
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Silvers on 2017-09-19, 10:40 am

It's all relative .....

Man Ure have debts of  £ 536 million !  That is a lot to manage and finance.

But they continue to shop in Harrods..

If SAFC have ambition they need to be shopping at M & S, not Poundland.

There is no ambition at the moment. Owner got caught out last season with his game of Russian Roulette.

So, do we fans just have to settle for survival at the moment , perhaps as a League One Club? 

So,for the time being we batten down the hatches and ride out the storm.

 Sounds as if the cupboard is bare for January. 

If Kone goes,  that fee  will obviously go towards running the club too.

The fear is that if that message pervades then a lot of fans will find other things to spend their hard earned money on.
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-09-19, 11:07 am

This is probably where I part company with many when it comes to how we spend our hard earned cash.

For me and I would guess around 25,000 others the club is our club, owners, CEO and managers come and go along with players but the club remains in whatever state it's left in. For me now is exactly the wrong time to stop going, when things are good we sell tickets, remember Wembley, by did we have some fans that day.

I have no influence or power over Short or Bain and I can guarantee the day will never come when ALL the fans stay away in protest so I see no point in doing it. I respect anyone who has decided no more, they have better things to do, they no longer enjoy the day out but at least be honest about it.

Maybe the day will come when I have had enough but right now I don't see it so yes I am well aware of the potential risks and further relegation but I wont go there until its a certainty.

Grayson has a hard job but a job many have been calling for, clear the decks and start again so I will continue to do what I can to help by going to games hoping for the best whatever.

I quite like Bains and trust him but would welcome new owners providing they are good owners and not Indian chicken farmers.

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-09-19, 11:32 am

It is really all about what happens on the pitch, last season imho, partly because Defoe did not have a 'big lad up front' to help him out we did not score enough goals to stay up.

This season Defoe has left and we in reality do not have any current playing strikers worthy of the title and low and behold we are struggling at the bottom of the league

Whoever the Manager, CEO and Owner is until we get better players on the pitch we are stuffed

If the aforementioned individuals are in denial about this, as Syd says there is naff all we can do about it


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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Silvers on 2017-09-19, 12:32 pm

I do think we have to suffer the fact that it is going to get worse before it gets better.

The Championship is a physically tough league.

Injuries have happened already and there will be more to come with no strength in depth to compensate.

They need to wrap Vaughan in cotton wool during training...

I agree with Sunders.

No goals means no wins.

We are in a bleak situation.

4th bottom is bleak....
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-09-19, 12:58 pm

I see no reason to accept it will get worse before it gets better and more goals would be nice but IMO its not goals for that is costing us but goals against. We would be around 16th if we had not conceded goals in the last few games.

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Billy D on 2017-09-19, 1:08 pm

cyprussyd wrote:I see no reason to accept it will get worse before it gets better and more goals would be nice but IMO its not goals for that is costing us but goals against. We would be around 16th if we had not conceded goals in the last few games.
Makes no difference if the opposition scores 4 as long as we score 5.
That's the sole aim - score more than the other lot.
Possession, chances & any other stats you care to mention don't mean a thing if you don't put the ball in the bag more than them.
So yes, it is lack of goals.
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-09-19, 1:32 pm

Billy D wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:I see no reason to accept it will get worse before it gets better and more goals would be nice but IMO its not goals for that is costing us but goals against. We would be around 16th if we had not conceded goals in the last few games.
Makes no difference if the opposition scores 4 as long as we score 5.
That's the sole aim - score more than the other lot.
Possession, chances & any other stats you care to mention don't mean a thing if you don't put the ball in the bag more than them.
So yes, it is lack of goals.
So if we had not conceded at Hull we still would not have won, interesting view.

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Billy D on 2017-09-19, 1:39 pm

cyprussyd wrote:
Billy D wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:I see no reason to accept it will get worse before it gets better and more goals would be nice but IMO its not goals for that is costing us but goals against. We would be around 16th if we had not conceded goals in the last few games.
Makes no difference if the opposition scores 4 as long as we score 5.
That's the sole aim - score more than the other lot.
Possession, chances & any other stats you care to mention don't mean a thing if you don't put the ball in the bag more than them.
So yes, it is lack of goals.
So if we had not conceded at Hull we still would not have won, interesting view.
We would't v Leeds, Barnsley or Forest.
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  sunderpitt on 2017-09-19, 1:44 pm

cyprussyd wrote:
Billy D wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:I see no reason to accept it will get worse before it gets better and more goals would be nice but IMO its not goals for that is costing us but goals against. We would be around 16th if we had not conceded goals in the last few games.
Makes no difference if the opposition scores 4 as long as we score 5.
That's the sole aim - score more than the other lot.
Possession, chances & any other stats you care to mention don't mean a thing if you don't put the ball in the bag more than them.
So yes, it is lack of goals.
So if we had not conceded at Hull we still would not have won, interesting view.

Fair point Syd, stop them scoring and you do not lose....pity we sold a very good keeper and now have two okayish ones
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  Billy D on 2017-09-19, 1:47 pm

sunderpitt wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:
Billy D wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:I see no reason to accept it will get worse before it gets better and more goals would be nice but IMO its not goals for that is costing us but goals against. We would be around 16th if we had not conceded goals in the last few games.
Makes no difference if the opposition scores 4 as long as we score 5.
That's the sole aim - score more than the other lot.
Possession, chances & any other stats you care to mention don't mean a thing if you don't put the ball in the bag more than them.
So yes, it is lack of goals.
So if we had not conceded at Hull we still would not have won, interesting view.

Fair point Syd, stop them scoring and you do not lose....pity we sold a very good keeper and now have two okayish ones
Yes & if you don't score, you don't win.
46 draws might just keep us up like.  Suspect
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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

Post  cyprussyd on 2017-09-19, 2:30 pm

Of course we need goals but we also need clean sheets and it is IMO a very simplistic view to say lets outscore the opposition. It's also  plan that will certainly fail.

At the start of the season we had a left back who became a liability and we are still unsure on who will be our regular right back and indeed CB pairing, i expect all that to be sorted ASAP and that should give us a far better defence.

Maja and Watmore back along with McNair and McGready and we are starting to look stronger.

Still have a very much half full glass in Coxhoe.

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Re: The Martin Bain Interview

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