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CONFIRMED: Former Sunderland goalkeeper re-joins club as Head of Recruitment

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Tony Coton has returned to Sunderland in a behind the scenes role after successful spell at troubled Aston Villa ends.

Sunderland have confirmed the appointment of Tony Coton as the club’s new Head of Recruitment. Coton had been at Aston Villa as the Championship club’s head of UK scouting, but has decided to leave the crisis club to join the new era taking shape on Wearside.

Speaking of the appointment on SAFC.com, Stewart Donald said:

I am delighted to welcome Tony to Sunderland. Recruitment is fundamental for any football club and in Tony we have a man with significant experience and contacts in this vital area.

He is passionate, honest and hard working – the exact qualities we want in anyone coming to this football club. He has a tremendous knowledge of English football and understands what characteristics are required, on and off the pitch, to achieve success.

Tony played a vital role in reshaping Aston Villa’s squad and ensuring it was equipped to do well in the Football League. Working alongside Jack, his appointment will help ensure we can hit the ground running and attract the right type of players to Sunderland.

Coton himself added:

I am incredibly excited about returning to Sunderland as a new era starts and the rebuilding begins.

Having met Jack Ross, I have been hugely impressed by his vision of how he wants his Sunderland team to play and I am enthused by the challenge of bringing in the players we need to realise that vision.

Between Jack, myself and the rest of the recruitment staff, I am confident we can help build a team that can take the club forward and I am excited to get started.

Tony Coton

This will be Coton’s second spell at Sunderland after he signed as a goalkeeper back in 1996, but unfortunately he only lasted 10 games before a horrific leg break ended his playing career.

After retirement he moved into coaching at Manchester United where he spent a decade, but that was cut short due to an knee injury, and since the end of his coaching days he has moved into the recruitment side of football with scouting roles at Wigan, Bolton and Queen’s Park Rangers - where he was briefly assistant manager - before taking up his position at Aston Villa.

New Sunderland manager Jack Ross will be in charge of transfers, but Coton will assist the Scot in the transfer market and he will have to get to work immediately with an overhaul of the playing staff required before the season gets underway on August 4.