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Roker Roundup: “I did not want to leave” - Vito Mannone tells all about his Sunderland departure

“I did not want to leave” - former Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone bares all as he gives an honest assessment of why he left the club, former CEO Martin Bain, the Netflix TV series and more.

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Mannone wanted more for Sunderland

Vito Mannone has revealed that he did not want to leave Sunderland when he departed the club for Reading before the ill-fated Championship season.

In a Q&A with thescore, the current Minnesota United number one said that Martin Bain wanted to sell him and that he was unhappy to hear the club’s target was only to survive in the Championship:

I did not want to leave. Martin Bain was thinking about the financial part and wanting to sell to save the club and get some other players in.

We spent years before fighting to be a Premier League club and had an amazing cup run. To hear somebody in charge say the target was to survive in the Championship, it was not in line with what I wanted. I wanted the best for Sunderland and for myself.

Mannone was asked whether he had watched the Netflix series Sunderland ‘Til I Die and he said he had but, although it was painful to sit through, he was happy to see the beauty of the fans and club shine through:

Yeah I did. Painful. I thought they could’ve done it before when we got some miracles: Premier League safety and the League Cup final.

It’s painful but at the same time you can see the beauty of this set of fans. They will always be in my heart. Sunderland is a wonderful place to play football. It’s a great club that deserves more.

Unfortunately a few mistakes have been made on the way.

During the show, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was mentioned during a meeting at the club to decide transfer targets and Mannone was asked whether there was so little transfer planning during his time at the club:

I heard many names during my time and I saw some of them too.

It was like that. But, at the same time, there were big misses when it came to signing (on-loan) players. After the year we had Sam Allardyce and just got safe we didn’t sign players like Yann M’Vila. We didn’t sign players like Marcos Alonso, and he ended up at Chelsea a year-and-a-half later for £28 million.

When you make these kinds of mistakes at some point you’re going to pay for it. That’s what you see on Netflix, I guess.

It’s painful but you need to carry on and do your best. I always did when I was there and I feel like the fans knew I always did my best to save the club, keep it in the Premier League, and at the highest level. Unfortunately, in football these things happen, you can’t control somebody else’s attitude on the training pitch as much as you want.

Every team has got these problems, I guess, [but] you just need to deal with them. Or, at least, the club and the manager need to deal with them.

Sunderland v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Former players in the news

Ex-Sunderland striker Ji Dong-Won has left Augsburg to sign for their Bundesliga rivals Mainz 05 on a free transfer.

The South Korean has signed a three-year deal at the Opel Arena and leaves Augsburg after making 124 appearances for the club - sandwiched between a short spell with Borussia Dortmund.

Another former goal shy ex-Sunderland striker, Roy O’Donovan, is set to leave Newcastle Jets after the Australian side withdrew their contract offer.

The club’s CEO Lawrie McKinna said they did everything they could to get the player to agree to a new contract but decided to withdraw their offer after the ‘goal posts continued to shift’.

In other goal shy former Sunderland striker related news, Dame N’Doye has rediscovered his goalscoring touch after a barren few seasons.

The Senegalese forward rejoined his former side FC Copenhagen this season and has been on top form, with 22 goals and 3 assists in 32 games. That form continued through the month of April as his six goals in five games saw him named SuperLiga player of the month.

Sunderland v Carlilse United - FA Cup Third Round Photo by Nigel Roddis Getty Images

Magic back in football

Allan ‘Magic’ Johnston has made a swift return to football after being sacked by Dunfermline Athletic in January as he was named Queen of the South manager.

The 45-year-old returns to the club for the second time after he steered them to Challenge Cup and Second Division title success back in 2013.

He takes over with immediate effect and will be in charge for tomorrow night’s first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final away to Montrose, where he will be able to call on the services of the Championship Player of the Year Stephen Dobbie who has scored an astonishing 40 goals so far this season.

Allan Johnston of Sunderland

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