Joseph Tulip says...
Elliot Dickman was himself a promising academy product at Sunderland in the late 1990s.
It was a huge blow when he suffered a devastating injury and had to retire at the age of 20, but it was very heartening that Dickman had the opportunity to spend so many years as a coach at the club, nurturing future generations of young talent.
Indeed there have been mixed results with the academy over the years but Dickman’s loyalty to the club, and that of the club to him, has been a credit to both parties thus far.
It is a surprise, therefore, that a man with such a long association with Sunderland would consider making a move to our closest rivals, especially at such an important and exciting time in our revival as a club.
Nevertheless, I’m sure Kristjaan Speakman’s attention to detail will ensure Dickman is replaced with the right man to take the U23s forward.
Damian Brown says...
Not sure why our sinister cousins would want to hire him in the first place quite frankly. He - or rather the u23s squad - has endured some truly torrid times under his leadership in recent years and I’m not altogether sure precisely which academy product he can lay claim to bringing on into the senior squad, nor sold for effective profit.
That being said: the role of u23s head coach always strikes me as a bit of a loaded die. The game is rigged against you if the fans of the club are looking at academy results and expecting winning streaks, since the real underlying remit of every coach in the academy is to prepare individuals rather than a competitive team as a whole.
There isn’t a great deal of media focus on them and attendances are a fraction of the senior squad games, so who’s really to say?
To get a real insight I suppose you’d have to go directly to the players that he’s been influencing. They may have some good stories to tell but I doubt those stories will be widely heard.
End of the day it just leaves me shrugging, both in terms of what it means for the academy and what it implies about the intentions of Saudi Arabia.
Rich Speight says...
It’s a funny one. My initial reaction to the news was one of “and so it begins”… the brain-drain of people and resources across the River Tyne is already upon us, the main concern being that he’s departing to our direct competitors when it comes to recruiting kids into our Category 1 youth structures.
But then reflecting and talking with those a little closer to youth development in the city, it’s not a surprise that Dickman has chosen to move on.
He was one of the few people on the coaching side who straddled this and the previous regimes at the club - not someone hand-picked by Kristjaan Speakman to implement his and Johnson’s philosophy across the board at the Academy of Light, and has had a patchy record when it comes to results on the pitch (albeit with varying degrees of support from on high).
Things haven’t always been great over the last few years for many reasons, but perhaps it’s a good thing that the Sporting Director will now be able to bring his own appointment into this crucial job.
And, ultimately, money talks - for many people a huge increase in salary and the promise of more money to throw at success is going to be a temptation that’s difficult to resist.