Summer of stories: When finances become as important as the football
The finances of football clubs are often more intricate, and controversial, than the transfer stories which traditionally dominate the headlines. In today’s Summer of Stories, Mark Donnelly of the Sunderland Echo, shares his exclusive the ownership of Sunderland AFC…
What was this story about?
An exclusive interview with Mark Campbell — who spoke for the first time about his bid to buy Sunderland AFC
How did you find out about this story?
I investigated this story myself.
Can you tell us about what work went on prior to publication?
The story was the climax of a long saga of takeover talk, which saw Campbell come agonisingly close to taking control of the famous football club. It involved pulling together various reports to quiz the businessman on, and plenty of research on his own background which — up until this interview — was shrouded in mystery.
What was the reaction after publication?
Very positive. The story was the main talking point among Sunderland fans for days after publication as it was the first time Campbell had spoken about his bid for the club and why it failed. The interview answered a lot of the questions that had plagued the summer months at the Stadium of Light — which finally gave supporters the answers they had been craving.
Why will you remember this story?
This was one of my first exclusives and a thoroughly enjoyable interview, and I know how much it meant to Sunderland fans to hear from the man who almost became their owner.
Did this story tell you anything about local journalism? If so, what?
It shows the power local journalism can bring, in delivering exclusive content to our readers.
Is there any advice you could give a would-be journalist based on this story?
Don’t be afraid to ask. I approached Campbell not expecting a response in regards to an interview, but within a matter of hours was on the phone with him. As they say in the North East — shy bairns get nowt!