Sunderland's new sporting director Kristjaan Speakman intends to hire a head of recruitment to work with him and the new head coach.

Speakman's appointment was confirmed by the Black Cats this afternoon, with the 41-year-old leaving his post as academy manager at Birmingham City to take up his new job on Wearside.

Speakman's arrival signals a change of approach from Sunderland, who sacked manager Phil Parkinson last weekend and intend to replace him with a head coach - with former Bristol City boss Lee Johnson understood to be ready to take that role, although no formal announcement has been made as yet.

Sunderland next manager search

In a lengthy interview with Sunderland's official website, Speakman outlined his wide-ranging brief as sporting director, and said there would be more emphasis on developing academy talent than signing players - adding that a head of recruitment would be brought in take on those duties.

"From a strategic perspective from the point of view of the ownership group making a selection on who is best to do my role, I think if it was a sporting director role where the emphasis was on recruitment and player recruitment then I wouldn't be here because that's not really how I see it fit," he said.

"There was complete alignment between me and the owners on what the role looks like and therefore who is the best person to do that role.

"I see that as me having autonomy over the football department to make sure there is a line across all the football departments, and from top to bottom.

"My interest is across all the different spectrums and the performance and domains that occur. It's not just recruitment, although recruitment is one fifth.

"In the coming days we need to get our search under way for a head of player recruitment and that underpins the nature and direction that this project is going to undertake."

A full transcript of Speakman's interview can be found below:

It sounds like it's been a long couple of days for you

It's definitely been a long couple of days. There was definitely a rush to pull it all together and I understand that from the nature of the football industry and the position in which the club finds itself at the minute, it wants to find some stability.

I don't have any problem with that, even arriving this morning at 1am. It's all part of the job.

You've been brought in to oversee the club's football operations, can you give us an overview of what that will entail

The ownership group is looking at the football operations, like a lot of clubs are, to try to find some clarity of structure and clarity of message with the purpose of trying to get success.

That's the thing that has attracted me to this position - it's the vision that the ownership group want for the club, the ambition, the finances, and the structure they are willing to put behind it, and ultimately the autonomy for the position that I hold to be able to get on with my job, which is massively important.

A key part of your role will be enhancing the pathways between the academy and first-team, an ethos you will be familiar with judging by your background

From a player-development perspective, I'm very keen on that but development happens at different stages - a boy doesn't have to come through the academy from the age of eight all the way through.

We've had examples at clubs I've worked with where that has happened, but you've also had players that develop from 16 to 23.

So from that standpoint, it always provides a good foundation for a club to have player acquisition happening at different phases, and to have a squad that is not leaning too heavily on players from external sources.

As I know from my time at Birmingham, the fanbase can always attach themselves to a local player coming through, and I think if you are a fan attending a Sunderland game you want to see some of the players who have come through your area or through your club.

From a strategic perspective from the point of view of the ownership group making a selection on who is best to do my role, I think if it was a sporting director role where the emphasis was on recruitment and player recruitment then I wouldn't be here because that's not really how I see it fit.

There was complete alignment between me and the owners on what the role looks like and therefore who is the best person to do that role.

I see that as me having autonomy over the football department to make sure there is a line across all the football departments, and from top to bottom.

My interest is across all the different spectrums and the performance and domains that occur. It's not just recruitment, although recruitment is one fifth.

In the coming days we need to get our search under way for a head of player recruitment and that underpins the nature and direction that this project is going to undertake.

Ten academy players made their debuts under you at Birmingham last season, a whole host of England internationals have come through on your watch as well, what have you learned from your time at St Andrew's and what can you bring here?

From a personal perspective, I was there for 14 years and one of the reasons I was there for so long is because I always had the opportunity to grow and develop.

Creating an environment where people can develop and where they feel loved and cared for - any employee, member of staff, or player would want to feel that.

Ultimately it is about opportunities. The young players are there in the system and we all know the statistics in the various leagues about how the squads are populated with foreign players, but we have to find the right balance between giving players opportunities to progress and move through the programme, and the ones that are going to come in and supplement that as part of a really concise plan.

A key part will be retaining our best young talent which is something the club has been criticised for in the past. How important is it to keep players that have been developed from the age of eight to 16

It's a fairly obvious thing that the club wants that, but I also think the players want to do that.

I very rarely come across young players who come from an area of the country and come through an academy but are desperate to move.

One of the things you have to look at is what are the reasons that has happened, what can we correct and improve, and ultimately you need to provide a player with the understanding that you are going to manage their programme on an individual basis and they are going to get everything they need.

That doesn't mean spoiling young players, but if you look across player development, personal development, medical and sports science analysis, in this country there is a very high benchmark on the provisions available to these young players.

Therefore, if you are not going to provide a player with a certain element of that, and you are going to be restricting their potential, then ultimately they are going to choose to go somewhere else.

One of the things that's important about this project is that they want to create a best-in-class academy, and they want Sunderland's academy to be the centrepiece of their strategy.

They also want this to be a powerhouse in the North East of high performance and an institute of excellence across medical, analysis and sports science.

You've been walking around the building here today meeting your new colleagues, and you can see you won't be starting from scratch

That's the big thing that everyone will reference with Sunderland. Unfortunately, the status of the club has dropped into League One and it's going to be an incredible challenge for us to try and turn that around and get it back to its rightful place in the Premier League.

I arrived at 1am in the drizzly rain but when you look at that Stadium of Light, it's a hell of a stadium. Then you turn up here [the Academy of Light] this morning and it's got everything you need to be successful from an infrastructure standpoint, but I think you also have to make sure it has the right level of personality, expertise, and competency to make sure that it can deliver.

Your arrival signals a fresh approach and a restructuring of the football operations, and while short-term gains are important to supporters how important are the medium to long term strategy

The medium to long-term strategy is absolutely crucial because that provides a direction to what is considered important moving forward.

If you are constantly looking with a very short-term view, it's difficult to know what you are putting those building blocks in for.

What we've tried to do with this is to look at what can it be, which is a top level Premier League football club with an outstanding youth development programme.

The question is how are you going to get there, and what are the pragmatic stages you need to go through to get there - without letting the first team, which is what people want to watch at the stadium, not perform to its level.

So in the short-term, we have to have the team improving.

Top of the agenda is finding a new head coach, something you have discussed with the board but the decision rests with you

I think it's important that when you've got the position in the structure that I have got, that I have the autonomy to make a decision in all the various areas.

There's always a high profile nature to that selection, which isn't to diminish other areas, but it is a really key role because it can set the tone for everything else.

But we have to get the recruiting right in every position from a staffing perspective.

For the owners to give me that autonomy and responsibility really quickly is a really important message for the supporters in terms of the direction and change this club is going to go through.

Data analytics is something the club hasn't invested in in previous years, how much of a role will it play under you

A lot of the strands that link into player development and recruitment are all now heavily reliant on data.

There's different viewpoints in different clubs as to how much you should use that data.

What we have to do at Sunderland is work out what our model looks like for our processes, and try to maximise all the resources and tools out there to mitigate risk, try to find talent, and try to improve the talent that is here as well.

When it's new it costs more money, but when you have a plan with an investment plan attached to it and they are going to invest in the Academy of Light, try to ensure that the technological infrastructure is available.

What we can't do is to continue to try and play catch-up, we have to make some key decisions about what is important and then put that money into it.

We have to try and build up that provision for the younger players, and build up the provision for the older players.

Recruitment, even at U9, is very competitive and I'm sure it's no different in this region because of the size of the clubs that exist in this area. It's no different to the Midlands.

Whether it's that end of the spectrum, or if we are trying to identify two very similar players to play in the first team who we think can make a difference to the performance, will they come here because the provision is so good, can we sell a story that potentially is going to enhance the chances of signing those players, and maybe then it doesn't just come down to a financial decision.

Fans are passionate about their football but they also want to see young players come through and succeed here, hopefully, or somewhere else. How important is it that fans understand the strategy

It's not a football club without the fans. You only have to look at the recent period with the stadiums and these very sterile environments, and I think everybody has started to take a viewpoint and maybe it has enhanced the understanding of how important they [the fans] are.

The thing you have always got to try and create is a connection between the fanbase and what goes on on the football side but there has to be some alignment on some values and behaviours.

I've been here less than 24 hours so I don't know, but I would guess that that is where we might have had some issues in the past whereby they [the fans] don't quite understand what is going on.

I don't have any issue in communicating the strategy with any supporter, any fans' forum, and I think that is part of the communication strategy moving forward and that's fundamentally part of my role as well.

Hopefully over the coming weeks and months, the guy that supports Sunderland passionately will get a better understanding of what the process of the club is going to be moving forward, what my role does and doesn't do, but ultimately I can sit all day everyday and talk about what is and isn't going to happen. They [the fans] will want to see things happen.

The bottom line is that the team has got to win more games. The team has got to get promoted. The team has to get some stability in the Championship, and then we are going to slowly and pragmatically move through.

If we are doing that and demonstrating that with values and behaviours that are aligned to the people that live in this area, and we understand that the people in this area have a uniqueness that we can use as a selling point, the whole thing is going to be a really successful project.