Sunderland owner Stewart Donald resigns as club chairman

Donald bought Sunderland from Ellis Short, a billionaire American businessman, in May 2018 Credit: PA

The owner of Sunderland Football Club, Stewart Donald, has announced his resignation as club chairman.

It follows pressure from some fans after the club's failure to gain promotion to the Championship.

In recent days, Donald said he is “desperately trying to get out" of the club, citing abuse on social media and the harassment of his family.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Donald said he was not “a crook, a charlatan and a thief” and dismissed reports he was “being awkward”, in his approach to selling the club. 

“At this current time no-one has provided proof of funds and shown intent on closing off a deal", he said.

Mr Donald said he was “straightforward to deal with” and had communicated with fan groups, even suggesting that the fans group together and buy the club.

Less than 24 hours ago, the club also announced on social media that Richard Hill and Tony Coton left the club with immediate effect.

Both joined SAFC in 2018, undertaking the roles of Head of Football Operations and Head of Recruitment, respectively.

Speaking about the decision, Donald said holding the position has been a "privilege", and not one he has given up lightly. 

In the full statement released on the club's website, Donald said his "main goal" is to sell the club to a suitable new owner.

Sunderland's new chairman will be appointed following the club’s next board meeting.