Sunderland give Martin Bain £1.9m pay-off after huge losses on and off the pitch

Sacking former chief executive Martin Bain cost Sunderland more than £1million in compensation last year, despite the Scot presiding over two successive relegations, the League One side’s financial accounts have revealed.

Appointed in May 2016 on an annual salary of £1.24million, the ex-Rangers and Maccabi Tel Aviv boss was the highest paid chief executive in the Championship last season but could not stop the Black Cats going down again or haemorrhaging money.

In total, Bain received almost £1.9million in pay and compensation last season.

Relegation from the Premier League to the Championship saw Sunderland’s turnover halve from £123.5million to £63.7million, despite receiving £35million in parachute payments.

Given this crash in revenue, it is perhaps to Bain’s credit that he managed to keep the club’s losses to only £500,000 a week, something he achieved by slashing operating costs from £151million to £82million and selling Jordan Pickford to Everton.

The latter helped Sunderland record a £20million profit on playing trading, with only James Vaughan, Jason Steele and Aiden McGeady coming in for a combined £1.26million.

But the facts that only one of those, McGeady, is still at the club and Sunderland endured another woeful campaign, will have to remain in Bain’s debit column.

The season covered by these accounts, which are the last from the 2017/18 Championship season to be posted at Companies House, was captured on camera for a Netflix documentary called ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’.

Over the course of eight episodes, Bain is shown grappling with the club’s stretched finances and the uncertainty caused by a protracted sales process that saw former owner Ellis Short eventually write off millions in debt and hand Sunderland over to a consortium led by current chairman Stewart Donald.

The stark reality, however, is that Sunderland lost another £26million last year, bringing their total losses to nearly £250million, with over £200million of that sum coming in the last decade.

Sunderland, who will receive another £35million in parachute payments this season and then a final Premier League payment of £14million next year, are currently fourth in League One, six points behind Luton and Barnsley in the automatic promotion slots, but with two games to play instead of their one.

On Tuesday evening, they go to Fleetwood for a game that will decide if they still have a shot at automatic promotion in Saturday’s regular-season finale at relegation-threatened Southend.

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