American businessman Ellis Short finally agreed to sell Sunderland on Sunday _ and his last act as owner of the beleaguered English club was to oversee the departure of Chris Coleman.
Short’s decade-long reign at Sunderland ends shortly after the club was relegated to the England’s third tier in a second straight demotion, having fallen out of the Premier League only 12 months ago.
Coleman was released from his contract after winning just five of his 29 games since replacing Simon Grayson in November. Coleman’s stock has fallen _ two years ago, he was leading Wales to the semifinals of the European Championship.
Fifteen minutes later Sunday, Sunderland said a deal had been struck to sell to a group led by Stewart Donald, the chairman of non-league team Eastleigh.
Short has been looking to sell Sunderland for some time and he said he will leave the club “financially strong and debt-free for the first time since years before I owned it.”
“Overall my chairmanship has not gone the way I would have wished,” Short said. “The many high points of a decade in the Premier League have been overshadowed by the low points of the last two terrible seasons.
“I was therefore determined to ensure that I leave Sunderland in the best possible hands and in the best possible state to turn the corner.”
The deal is subject to approval by England’s soccer authorities. Stewart Donald has confirmed he has also put Eastleigh on the market because he cannot have a controlling stake in two clubs.
Sunderland will be in the third tier _ League One _ for the first time in 30 years.
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