New signings unveiled on top a massive hill on a windy day in February
In one of the more original player unveilings, Sunderland today took their January signings up to the top of a massive hill on a wet windy day in February for a little photoshoot action and a chance to speak to the media.
Club captain John O'Shea led the trio of new recruits up Penshaw Hill for a panoramic introduction to the sights of their new surrounds and a look up close at the monument which can be seen for miles around.
Joleon Lescott, Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson beamed as if they were enjoying themselves before presumably scarpering back down and wondering whose bright idea that was.
We'll leave a fine summation to our chums at A Love Supreme commenting on whether the monument, built in 1844, is in fact older than our club which was formed 35-years later:
1879, which is of course the year the football club was founded, and the combined age of these four players pic.twitter.com/zmjt81BWgA— ALS: SAFC FANZINE (@ALS_Fanzine) February 2, 2017
New Academy director to be announced
Sunderland are set to announce former Rangers and Aston Villa youth coach, Jimmy Sinclair, to the position of Academy director according to reports which surfaced this morning in the Scottish Sun.
Jimmy Sinclair to be new academy director at #safc https://t.co/lcVez7Sjzr— David Coverdale (@dpcoverdale) February 2, 2017
The 59-year-old was previously part of the set-up at Ibrox when Martin Bain was Chief Executive at the Scottish giants. Sinclair left his post at Rangers in 2014 during a period of huge upheaval.
Since then, the former winger who plied his trade at a number of Scottish clubs before he hung up his boots in 1989, has worked at Queens Park and was assistant to Eric Black at Aston Villa.
The position of 'youth supremo' has been vacant at Sunderland since Ged McNamee stepped down after a 20-year association with the club in November.
Bain has overseen a revolution behind the scenes at the Stadium of Light with other notable changes in personnel including the club doctor, commercial director and various other back office functions. Simon Wilson commenced his new role as Chief Football Officer in early January and Martin Welsh, manager of the Under-23 side, recently departed to take up first team coaching duties at Wigan.
Not many Rangers personnel escaped with their reputations enhanced at Ibrox in recent years and perhaps Sinclair was one of them; but with Sunderland's academy showing flickering glimmers of life in recent times, he joins the club at a better time than in recent years for the youth products emerging from it.
Aside from high profile successes like England goalkeeper-elect Jordan Pickford, George Honeyman has been the latest to slot into the first team in recent weeks when injuries have opened up a vacancy.
Sinclair's appointment - which has yet to be confirmed officially by Sunderland - will largely see a new broom in most departments at the Stadium of Light amidst a club facing a continual struggle to maintain itself in England's top tier.
Khazri-clash coach denies he resigned in its wake
Tunisian coach Henryk Kasperczak has denied he resigned in the wake of the fall-out from the North African country's elimination from the Cup of Nations earlier this week.
The 70-year-old was involved in a bizarre touchline stand-off last Saturday with Wahbi Khazri as the Sunderland midfielder refused to shake the hand of his coach after he was substituted in the 63rd minute.
CAN 2017: Kasperczak commente le geste de Wahbi Khazri https://t.co/4GrdXqHFni pic.twitter.com/3HJYSjK5nv— Radio Mosaïque FM (@RadioMosaiqueFM) January 28, 2017
Tunisia were beaten by two-goals-to-nil and were eliminated from the African tournament, with Kasperczak later describing Khazri as "unprofessional".
For his part, Khazri is now due back in training with Sunderland after deadline day interest from Real Betis and Celta Vigo. In the end, nothing concrete was forthcoming - perhaps David Moyes was awaiting the result of his bids for Leonardo Ulloa before allowing any departures - and the 25-year-old will be looking to resurrect his career on Wearside which has faltered in recent months.