Kenwyne on his Sunderland managers
Ex-Sunderland striker Kenywne Jones appeared on the Shoot the Defence podcast this week to discuss his football career.
Talking about his spell at the Stadium of Light during the podcast, the former Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) international revealed his contrasting experiences with two of his managers while with Sunderland.
Although Jones had nothing but good things to say about Roy Keane, he was not so complimentary about Steve Bruce.
Jones said Bruce failed to integrate the players together when he came in, never got on with him personally and brings up the time he almost signed for Liverpool.
The current T&T under-17 coach says he had agreed terms with Liverpool and that they Rafael Benitez’s side were close to agreeing a fee of around £16m for him when Bruce cancelled the deal due to a training ground bust up between the pair.
That led to the current Newcastle United forcing the player to move to Stoke City, a move he was happy to make to get away from Bruce’s management:
When Steve Bruce came to Sunderland, of course when a new manager come in he wants to bring his players but what he didn’t do - and the team suffered for it - was bring everyone together.
He basically separated the team with players who he brought in and were doing so well and the ones who where here before and weren’t doing so well and they need to get up to speed and me and him at that time, we didn’t hit it off pretty well.
I guess I don’t have any bad things to say about a player but his golden boy at the time, and rightfully so, was Darren Bent. Me and Benty had a really good partnership going on but Steve Bruce for some reason he was at ends with me and on top of that I was going through a devastating time in my personal life.
I was going through a divorce at that time, so things were not mentally all there for myself but I still held up my end of the bargain with my performances and me and him had a falling out one day because Liverpool wanted to sign me but Bentiez was the manager at the time and they were going to pay the money down, I think it was £16m or something like that.
On the other side everything was agreed and we had a falling out in training one day and he basically shut the deal down and then forced me to go to Stoke in the summer.
That’s how I ended up going to Stoke, Stoke wanted me but it was because I just wanted to get out of under the management of Steve Bruce at Sunderland really.
When it was brought up that Bruce’s reaction was a surprise considering he was a pupil of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jones said that although managers do take things from people who have managed them previously, that fact does not change a person’s character:
Some people, when it comes to coaching style, they will take certain things off of managers they’ve worked with but that doesn’t change the character of a person.
During my time working under him and I’ve experienced this with players who have worked under him before and have had indifferent experiences with him, so it’s not like he was all peachy with everyone and everyone loves him, that type of thing, in the end everyone will have their different experience.
I’m a person that has never, never, never disrupted a dressing room or be at ends with a manager but the time with him was just spoilt to be honest.
He had a much different experience of another ex-Manchester United man, with Jones a fan of Keane.
Calling him the best manager he ever had, Jones understood Keane’s emotional reactions because of how hard he worked to get to the top:
To be honest, if I can give my honest opinion: I never had a problem with him, you know? In my view, at club level, he was probably the best manager I had.
We had a decent enough relationship, I think he was bringing the best out of me but his major problem...I believe that he didn’t have enough experience in the coaching staff around him.
That’s why I think things didn’t go too well for him but as a person I didn’t take him seriously on the rants, I understood most of the things that he would be emotional about because he was a player of the highest level and I understand where it came from.
Coming from a place where you have nothing to being that type of a player, on that level and also trying to maintain that to try and look after yourself and give the best of yourself every single day that you train.
So for me, he was never a problem.
You can listen to the full Shoot the Defence interview with Kenwyne Jones by clicking HERE or by pressing play on the link below:
Downing on McCarthy
Another former Sunderland player has been talking about his manager at the club, with Stewart Downing discussing the impact Mick McCarthy has had on his career.
Downing only had a short loan spell at the Stadium of Light but says during an interview with Training Ground Guru that his spell at Sunderland under McCarthy not only toughened him up but allowed him to learn a great deal in his short time at the club:
I went on loan to Sunderland under Mick in the Championship and those three months toughened me up.
I look back at pictures from that time and I was still a boy, the kit was swinging off me, but I was ready to play and I wanted to go there.
The lads at Sunderland were washing their own kit, things I wasn’t used to, because I’d come from the reserves at Boro where it was all done for us.
Like Dave, Mick was demanding, but he gave me so much confidence to just go and play. I scored a couple of goals early on and suddenly thought, ‘maybe I am good enough’. You don’t really know until you leave the reserves and play.
I think young players from Premier League Academies should go out on loan to League One, League Two, because then they’ll realise how good they have it. Mick was unbelievable for me, I learnt so much in that short time.
Director roles for former Sunderland duo
Two former members of Sunderland’s backroom staff have been appointed to director roles.
The club’s ex-Chief Football Officer Simon Wilson has been appointed Director of Football at National League outfit Stockport County.
The club’s new owner Mark Stott has big ambitions for Stockport and believes Wilson will help them achieve those goals:
Simon’s wealth of experience speaks for itself and we are delighted he shares our passion, vision and ambition for the club. It’s vital we strengthen our footballing infrastructure and talent base to achieve our vision of reaching the Championship within the next seven years.
Meanwhile, Stuart Gelling, who was a scout for Sunderland back in 2017 has joined Welsh side Cefn Druids as Sporting Director.
Previously a scout for the Egyptian FA, Gelling has also worked with Liverpool and Getafe, as well as with the FAs of Japan and Jordan. He replaces Huw Griffiths in the role.