STEWART DONALD has stood down from his position as chairman of Sunderland.

Donald reaffirmed his desire to sell the club earlier this week, but admitted no one had met his £37.6m asking price.

He has become an increasingly controversial figure in the last few months, with Sunderland supporters having grown increasingly unhappy at his stewardship of the club.

Today's decision means he will step away from the day-to-day running of the Black Cats.

Donald said: "Holding this position has been a privilege, and not one I have given up lightly. Results and performances on the pitch have simply not been at a level befitting of Sunderland’s history and potential.

"I fully recognise that has caused immense hurt and, ultimately, the buck for the club starting a third successive season in League One stops with me.

"To give the club the best chance of achieving its goals, I have made the judgement that it is right for me to step back from the chairmanship.

"In recent months, we have assembled a strong board with relevant experience and skill-sets.

"As the majority stakeholder, my remaining responsibility is to ensure that the club has the requisite financial backing to achieve its primary objective of promotion, and I can assure supporters that the club will continue to have the highest playing budget in this division.

"Otherwise, my intention remains to sell SAFC to a suitable new owner, and I remain personally committed to that goal.

"I would like to place on record my gratitude for the wonderful support that I have received since my arrival at the Stadium of Light.

"Without that support, the club would currently be facing a very uncertain future, as so many others are.

"Instead, starting from a position of relative financial stability, I hope that this moment will provide a springboard to the success that we all crave and SAFC fans deserve."

Sunderland intend to appoint a new chairman at their next board meeting.