Another senior figure departs
Stewart Donald has continued in his root and branch reform of Sunderland since his takeover was confirmed on Monday with another senior figure at the club departing.
We’ve already seen Martin Bain and Jimmy Sinclair depart this week, and now they have been joined by the club’s head of recruitment Neale McDermott.
McDermott, the son of former Newcastle United midfielder Terry, had originally joined the club as Head of Academy Recruitment back in March 2017 - after a spell as a Marketing Manager at Adidas - before he was moved up into a similar role involving the first team from September.
He had been praised by Chris Coleman as they set about strengthening the first team squad in January, with the Welshman saying:
We’re working really along with Neale McDermott, who’s been helping out – he’s been brilliant.
It’s thought McDermott had been let go after providing the new owners a list of targets ahead of this summer’s recruitment.
McDermott took to Twitter to complain about not being told personally that he had been let go but soon deleted the tweet [see below].
Surprisingly, though, Donald responded to McDermott’s initial tweet stating:
Duo called up
Sunderland developmental squad duo Michael Woud and Sam Brotherton have been called up into the senior New Zealand squad for the forthcoming Intercontinental Cup - a four team tournament which takes place in India from June 1 to June 10.
Central defender Brotherton already has seven caps for the All Whites but Woud - a goalkeeper - will be looking to make his senior debut after impressing at youth level for New Zealand.
New Zealand take on Kenya in their first game, with India and Chinese Taipei also taking part in the tournament
Former Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff has been released by Bolton Wanderers.
The big German struggled with injuries during his time at Sunderland, which led to his eventual release, and unfortunately those struggles continued at Wanderers with Kirchhoff only playing 184 minutes for Phil Parkinson’s side as they narrowly avoided joining us in League One.
We recently spoke to our friends at the excellent Bolton blog ‘Lions of Vienna Suite’ to see how he fared during his spell in the Macron Stadium - you can read that HERE.
Grabban on ‘inevitable’ relegation
Lewis Grabban was top scorer for Sunderland as we were relegated to League One, despite terminating his loan spell back in January. The striker looks set to start for Aston Villa - who he joined on loan at the end of the January transfer window - in the Play Off Final against Fulham tomorrow.
Speaking ahead of the big game, Grabban said he felt relegation was always going to happen due to the lack of leadership and investment in the club:
It’s been a weird season and hopefully the relegation won’t go down too much on my record. I don’t think anyone thought at the beginning of the season that Sunderland could do that. But everyone expected it after a certain amount of time and it didn’t look like anything was going to change.
They’re not the first big club [to go down] and won’t be the last. Leadership from the top of the club is important, so is investment. Now I’m at Villa and one of the reasons I came here was to try and get promotion. If we do that, it will be a successful season.
Grabban may be right about the lack of leadership and investment being at fault, but I don’t think he can shy away from his involvement in our relegation.
He forced his exit after cancelling his accommodation and then went over Chris Coleman’s head to Martin Bain to say that he was leaving the club. Had Grabban stayed, his extra goals may have been enough to keep us up, particularly during the games near the end of the season when we couldn’t finish teams off.
Regardless, our relegation may be a blessing in disguise due to the takeover, our debt being wiped off, and a necessary clean slate on the pitch. So no hard feelings Lewis, apart from hoping Fulham win.