Anglo did not fund Sunderland’s transfer spree

Published on 17 August, 2008. By John Reynolds

ANGLO Irish Bank did not fund Sunderland Football Club’s summer transfer splurge, it has been confirmed.

Sunderland is thought to have spent close to €15m buying El-Hadj Diouf, Steed Malbranque, Teemu Tainio and Pascal Chimbonda this summer.

Anglo was a key player in helping Niall Quinn’s Drumaville consortium to buy the club for €12.65m in 2006, when it agreed a €40m loan to Quinn that covered previous debt the club had built up. About €13m was also owed to Barclays Bank with similar terms.

Since then, however, members of the Drumaville consortium — a group that includes Ballymore Group property tycoon Sean Mulryan; publicans Charlie Chawke and Louis Fitzgerald; developers Jack Tierney, Pat Beirne and Patsy Byrne; and travel company owner Jack Hayes — are believed to have bankrolled the club with €26m for new players.

It is thought the consortium will issue new shares to its backers in order to raise transfer funds. Many of the Drumaville consortium members are Anglo Irish Bank clients.

“We’d hope to sign three more players before the transfer window closes. Our graph is going up all the time. How much potential there is, time will tell, but this asset hasn’t reached anywhere near its potential yet,” the Sunderland chairman told the Sunday Independent.

“I’m lucky in that I have plenty of support from our backers, so myself and Roy Keane just get on with the job,” said Quinn.

Strengthened by its new signings, the club is also hoping to bank additional TV fees of up to €7.6m — if it finishes 10th place or higher in the Premier League — to help pay the first instalment of fees for new players and their weekly wages.

After investing heavily, and succeeding in winning promotion to the Premier League, Sunderland lost €19.5m last year.

It is believed the club’s financial position has since improved, with income growing by 10 per cent a year and a projected turnover of up to €101m this year.

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