Sunderland: Prospective owner Stewart Donald agrees sale of Eastleigh

Stewart Donald has invested more than £10m in Eastleigh since 2011
Stewart Donald has invested more than £10m in Eastleigh since 2011

Prospective new Sunderland owner Stewart Donald has cleared another obstacle to his impending purchase by agreeing the sale of non-league club Eastleigh.

Donald must sell Eastleigh before he can complete his takeover of League One-bound Sunderland.

It is understood the sale will now be ratified by the National League.

Providing there are no problems, Donald could be in a position to take control at Sunderland at some point next week.

The news comes as Sunderland published annual accounts showing the football club's debt rose to £125.7m.

Figures show the debt of the club's parent company also rose from £137.3m to £161.7m, of which just under £91m was owed to outgoing Sunderland owner Ellis Short.

Financial details of Donald's purchase of the club have not been revealed but it is understood Short has agreed to clear the debt in order to push through the sale.

The accounts to 31 July 2017 cover Sunderland's relegation from the Premier League.

They suffered a second successive relegation this season as they finished bottom of the Championship and will play in the third tier of English football for only the second time in their history next season.

Turnover rose by £18.3m to £126.4m thanks to the new Premier League TV deal.

Sunderland also revealed their highest paid director - understood to be chief executive Martin Bain - received £1.24m.

The club reported a pre-tax loss of £9.9m, a figure which was helped by the £25m sale of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to Everton.