Former Sunderland striker Milton ‘Tyson’ Nunez has been discussing his career back in his homeland with La Prensa and during the interview claimed his former Black Cats ‘coach’ was a racist.
Rumours have surrounded Nunez’s situation at Sunderland for years, claiming that the club signed the wrong player after they intended to sign Adolfo Valencia from PAOK but mistakenly signed Honduran international Nunez.
The 46-year-old refuted those rumours and said that they fully intended to sign him but is still unhappy with his treatment at the club, not just due to his lack of playing time but he also claimed that his coach was a racist who was unhappy whenever Nunez was called up for international duty:
They talk and argue that my hiring was a mistake, I was casually seeing that I was branded a dog, that I was a mercenary. I was really like any footballer who dreams of going abroad and in a league of privilege that, thanks to God, it was my turn to be there.
I’m not to blame for being sought, that they have seen the videos. They did not see a video of Carlos Pavon or Eduardo Bennett, it was me who they were looking for but in the end they said they were interested in ‘Tren’ Valencia (former Bayern Munich striker Adolfo Valencia) and nothing to do with Tyson Nunez.
Those comments about my arrival by mistake bother me. What they do not mention is that the coach I had in that team was a racist, I had very little communication with him, as he was bothered by me going to the national team and I didn’t see an opportunity to play with the team. I was always on the bench waiting to play.
Butler on his Sunderland troubles
Another ex-Sunderland player has been discussing his difficult time at the Stadium of Light, as Thomas Butler talked with the42.ie about suffering depression whilst at the club.
The former Irish international had been suffering with constant injuries at Sunderland, which led to him leaving the club and returning to Ireland. After a time out of the game, he returned to sign for Dunfermline after a succesful trial but Sunderland were initially reluctant to release his registration but both parties resolved the issue just before it went to tribunal.
Butler discussed how his departure from Sunderland came about and how low he was at the end of his time with the club:
I was injured all the time. I’d play six or seven times and then I’d be out with an injury, and take two or three months and come back. That took its toll on me from a mental point of view. I was going in every day in pain, training every day in pain. I was waking up every day and taking 200mg of paracetamol, and 200mg of anti-inflammatories, just to get through training.
That was it for me, I stopped enjoying football. I won’t say I was severely depressed but I was in some kind of depressed state. I was going in every day and not looking forward to it. I said, ‘I need time off here to have a think about what I’m doing’. In all fairness I should have just gone on loan or to another team. Sunderland were paying my wages and were saying, ‘Thomas, we’re paying you to play football but you’re not here for us, so we’re not paying you anymore.’ So that’s where the legal came in. They said I just went mad and left, but that was easy for them to say.
That’s what happened. For me, something had to give in the end. Today there is a lot of awareness about mental health, and that’s what probably what was happening to me but there wasn’t a lot of information about it at the time; people probably just thought that ‘this guy’s nuts’.
You wouldn’t have had anyone to speak to, to say, ‘My head’s gone, I’m in pain all the time’. If I did that, I worried about others thinking I was weak mentally.
For me, I was trying to protect myself and I said that I needed to recharge for a few months. If that happened now, there are so many things in place, clubs have psychologists and a lot of managers have degrees in psychology now.
Things have changed so much in a short space of time, but it is probably 12 or 14 years too late for me.
I had a breakdown, not a massive breakdown, but I was mentally exhausted. As a player you are always worried.
You come home from training and you assess yourself, ‘Did I do well, or not? If you think you’ve done terribly, you don’t sleep. You worry you’re not playing well, you worry you’re injured, you’re worried you’re letting people down, and that takes its toll.
Especially at that age, when I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone because it might make things worse.
That’s what it was. To be fair, Mick was brilliant. The damage was done with me by the stage he came in. If it was a year or two earlier I might have been okay, but by the time Mick came in I was in such a low state.