Welcome to the Sunderland AFC live news blog.
A decision has been made over the 2019-20 campaign and we now know that Sunderland have missed out on promotion to the Championship and will next season face a third successive season in the third tier of English football.
While uncertainty over when the new season will start remains, Sunderland now have to focus on building their squad to make themselves more competitive than they've ultimately proven in the past two seasons.
With contract renewals, transfers and even a potential takeover, it could certainly be a busy close season on Wearside.
Throughout the day we'll bring you all the latest Sunderland AFC news, views and transfer gossip in our live updates below.
Benji Kimpioka offers SAFC future update
The young starlet has been offered a new deal, and has offered an update to Swedish publication UNT. He said:
Right now I'm waiting a bit, talking to my agent and family to see how we should do in the window that is coming.
“Sunderland is a club that I love and I like everyone there, all the coaches, players and staff in the club.
“We'll see. I want to stay there, but everything is in God's hands.
“It was probably a misunderstanding there [that he turned down a new deal] because it was not a no without us not getting into the negotiation part really.
“The contract was there and I did not say no but wanted to wait and look at it.
“Me, my family and my agent are looking at what is best for me and the family.”
Sammy Yu 'frustrated' in latest attempts to buy SAFC
A report in the Sunday Mirror updates on Sammy Yu and his attempts to buy Sunderland.
SAMMY YU and his Hong Kong-based consortium are being frustrated in their attempts to buy League One Sunderland.
The former Birmingham City vice-chairman, a key figure in Carson Yeung’s takeover at St Andrew’s in 2009, has made repeated approaches to win control of the Black Cats.
But it is understood that Yu, who insists “for us, money is not a problem’’, has received no encouragement from Stewart Donald’s regime in his latest moves.
Yu has confirmed he first pursued a deal for Sunderland before insurance tycoon and ex-Eastleigh owner Donald bought the club from American financier Ellis Short in May 2018 for around £40million.
And he revived his interest when it became clear that Donald would listen to offers following a fans’ revolt under a year into his tenure at the Stadium of Light.
Yu is a former vice-chairman at Birmingham City and spoke to the Chronicle earlier this year about his attempts to buy the club.
However, it is understood that Donald is not willing to sell to Yu because of his lack of trust in his reliability, while he also doubts he would pass the EFL's fit and proper tests, particularly given his connections to Carson Yeung's ill-fated Birmingham ownership.
Wes Brown's SAFC heartache
Brown was speaking to Tom White for the Foundation of Light's Legends in Lockdown talk in.
"It’s a little bit heartbreaking, because they shouldn’t be there,” he said.
"They should never have got to that point. We all know what’s happened and how it went.
"But if I think about the days when we were running out, playing Newcastle for instance in the Premier – with all the fans, the staff and the support who were there, it should never have got to where it is now.
"I’m sure eventually there will be a group of people who get together and get it all right, think ahead and get us back up the leagues.
"It’s definitely a club that is too big to be in that division and the supporters want and need that – and I’m sure the club do as well.
"It’s a shame it has gone the way it has done, but nobody would have ever thought it would have gone like that. Even when we were going through tough times and even when I left, I knew it was going to be tough to stay up again, but to keep going down and down and really struggle is hard to watch.
"When I’ve watched the Netflix programme, there’s still some of the staff from when I was there – but there’s so many that have gone as well. Good people, honest people who work hard and love the club as well.
"That’s the tough part for me, and I’m just hoping someone can turn it around.”
Red and White Army supporters' group registrations
As previously communicated to members, RAWA are holding an online EGM to vote on a motion to convert to a Supporters' Trust.
The meeting will take place on the Zoom platform on 23rd July, 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
Further details will be emailed to attendees after registration closes on the 21st July. This will include a link, meeting ID and password.
Please register here if you would like to attend.
You must only register for yourself and it must be using the email address we have sent this newsletter to. One member = one registration. Please note that if you have a household with multiple members each member must register separately and attend the meeting on their own device. This will allow us to process voting accurately and efficiently.
O'Shea and Brown
They've been speaking to Tom White for the Foundation of Light.
The video will be available at 7pm on Friday.
What qualifications are needed?
Here's what the job advert says:
What are the responsibilities of the academy manager?
The job advert states the following responsibilities:
- Development, implementation and management of the Academy Performance Plan
- Provide reports to the Board on the academy’s performance against target
- Ensuring the effective use by all appropriate academy staff of the Performance Management Application (PMA) and audit tool, including ensuring that all relevant data is recorded
- In conjunction with the Head of Academy Coaching oversee the coaching programme from U9’s to U18’s
- In conjunction with the Head of Academy Coaching design, implement and manage the academy’s coaching curriculum
- Working with the recruitment department, co-ordinate, evaluate and manage the recruitment process (schoolboys/youth) to attract and recruit the most talented boys
- Manage the EPPP audit process to ensure all criteria are met and implemented during each three-year cycle
- Conducting an annual self-assessment of the Academy in accordance with Premier League rules
- To be responsible for the monitoring of performance, recording and reporting the progress of players across all development phases.
- Manage all academy staff, ensuring appropriate CPD and appraisals are undertaken
- To have a close working relationship with First Team Manager and the Head of Football on all academy football matters including producing and integrating academy players into senior team
- Liaise with Club Secretary as required to ensure all academy matters are handled correctly, including regulatory issues and finance
- To work with the Head of Medical to ensure the physical, psychological, educational and social development needs of the young players are met
- With the assistance of academy staff, professional bodies and stakeholders establish and enhance the reputation of Sunderland AFC and its academy
SAFC begin academy manager search
Sunderland have begun their search for a new academy manager - posting a job advert for the role on the club website.
The vacancy comes after Paul Reid left his role after two years in charge of the academy last week.
The job advert states applicants have until close of play on July 15 (next Wednesday) to submit their applications.
Full details of the role and the qualifications needed can be found here.
Kenny Jackett hopes to continue at Portsmouth
Last night they lost on penalties in the play-off semi-finals to Oxford. It's the third time he's failed to gain promotion with the south coast side, and he is now under pressure.
But Jackett has insisted he wants to see out the job of earning promotion. He said:
It is there, very much so [desire for the job].
“I do feel there is a good squad to build it on.
“We’ve had a very consistent time and that’s what we’ve tried to work for.
“We’ve fallen now twice at the play-off hurdles with not much in the games and not getting the rub of the green.
“I do feel there’s been consistency and we do aspire to be better. We have to keep trying to build.
“The supporters will be disappointed.
“The record as a club shows we’ve not won a single play-off game.
“We’ve had two 1-1 draws really and lost the second one 5-4 on penalties.
“We have to break that down if we can and keep going.”
Kyle Lafferty discusses his future
He's on the look out for a new club after leaving SAFC
League One play-off final
Who'd have predicted Oxford vs Wycombe at the start of the season!? Oxford came to Sunderland on the opening day of the season with just one fit striker!
Bowyer enjoying working with McGeady
The Charlton boss had praise for the Sunderland loanee, saying:
“He’s come back and he’s in better shape when we finished lockdown.
“We got him in January and physically he didn’t really look up to speed. He’s worked really hard and bought into what I want.
“He’s definitely a player who can make something happen out of nothing.
“In the couple of behind-closed-doors matches he was probably one of our brightest sparks that could make something happen in the final third.
“He’s worked hard, like everyone else has on the pitch. That’s not Aidy’s strength – his strength is giving him the ball in the final third. But he’s worked hard for the team and bought into it. People will think ‘how you got him to do that?’
“He has bought into it and worked hard, which is all we can for off him.”
Gossip - Ipswich Town interested in Charlie Wyke
Some transfer gossip for you now, and Football Insider claim that Ipswich Town are interested in signing Charlie Wyke.
The striker is entering the final year of his contract at Sunderland and has so far managed just 11 goals in his two seasons on Wearside.
Paul Lambert is said to be a fan of the target man, and will look to sign him this summer. Sunderland could cash in because of his contract situation and to add much-needed funds to land their own new striker this summer.
But it's worth noting that Wyke was favoured by manager Phil Parkinson after returning from injury in December of last season and while the goals didn't flow as he might have liked, he became a key part of Parkinson's set-up as Sunderland went on a strong run in January and February.
Phillips on the importance of retaining a category one academy
Super Kev told Football Insider
It is vitally important they retain that status.
"The Academy of Light is a huge part of the football club.
“Academies are an area that club’s will look to given the financial situation we find ourselves in.
“You want players to come through into the first team. Having a category one academy is vital to that.
“It costs money to keep that status going but it would be a shame if they could not keep the Academy of Light as being that place that brings through these talents.”
Don't expect many signings anytime soon
There might be one or two announcements, but even that might be optimistic.
Here's why Sunderland are likely to be patient and complete their signings later
How Wigan situation could affect Sunderland
Interesting this, as SAFC fans hope for a takeover
Phillips concerned by SAFC academy developments
With young prospects leaving and Paul Reid departing as academy manager this week, Kevin Phillips told Football Insider:
“It’s a big concern because it is difficult right now to be able to afford to go out and buy players.
“They have got some really talented players so you do not want to see that happen. You want to see the work their way up to the first team and get given their chance.
“It is a concern and I hope that they appoint someone in that area who gets control of it and stops these players going.
“The scouting network, at academy level, has been really good. It is just the first team area that has not bee great over the past four years.
“For me it is a really important area of the club and they need to blood their youth and bring them through to the first team.”
Swindon to bid for Jerry Yates
The Rotherham striker spent last season on loan at Swindon, helping them to promotion with 14 goals.
Sunderland have been linked, but Swindon will be the first to test Rotherham's resolve on a player it's understood they activated a 12-month contract extension clause simply to earn money on selling him.
Swindon manager Richie Wellens told BBC Wiltshire:
We’re going to put an offer into Rotherham in the next 48 hours, and we’ll see what Rotherham say.
“But we can only pay what we can pay in the current market.”
Sunderland want Jay Spearing - gossip
We mentioned him the day Blackpool released him.
An ex-Phil Parkinson favourite who captained his Bolton side to League One promotion, Jay Spearing always seemed like a move Sunderland might make this summer given he was free.
And today the usually reliable Alan Nixon of the Sun on Sunday reports that Sunderland are interested.
There is also interest from recently-relegated Tranmere and his former side Bolton, but a reunion with Parkinson on Wearside could appeal to the former Liverpool academy graduate.
Parkinson on getting back for pre-season (BBC Newcastle)
I can't wait to get back for pre-season and I can tell you that all the lads are absolutely itching to get back.
The lads have been really looking after themselves away from the club as much as they possibly can.
But we really are ready now to get back in and get cracking again.
Parkinson on Jim Rodwell (BBC Newcastle)
I speak with Jim regularly.
It's been difficult for him to come in in the circumstances. He obviously can't come into the stadium and work from his office.
We have met a couple fo times and I speak to him all the time.
I still speak to the chairman now and then as well, but it has mainly been dealing with Jim Rodwell.
The only thing I can do once the season gets going is win football games. That's what will put smiles on the supporters' faces.
There was a period in the second half of last season where the crowd really responded to the way we were playing and we've got to try and recreate that.
I want us to play that high-pressing game. It took me a while to get the players playing in that way, but once we played with that drive and energy the supporters really got behind us. It made the stadium a great place to play in.
If we can play like that next season I know the fans will get right behind us. This is their club, their stadium etc. It's my job to produce a brand of football which the Sunderland fans can relate to.
Off the pitch, you'll find a lot of clubs have similar things going on behind the scenes, but as a manager you've just got to focus on the training from Monday to Friday to produce the best possible team you can each work for the games.
Parkinson on season needing fans back to start (BBC Newcastle)
I think the general consensus across the EFL is that we need fans back before we start.
I'm hopeful that by the start of September, the proposed date, there will be a percentage of supporters allowed back in the ground.
It's really important for the future of all clubs, and we've got to work towards that.
I feel we're progressing in that direction, and it is absolutely crucial, it goes without saying.
Parkinson on fan frustration (BBC Newcastle)
Of course. Sunderland is such a huge club to be in the third tier of English football. It's not right.
But that's where we are and we've got to get out of this division next year at what is the third attempt.
Obviously that is very frsutrating for everybody. The fans are not going to be delighted that we face another season in League One, but we're not either.
We've got to, and we are, doing everything we can to get out of this division this next attempt.
Parkinson on Mumba sale (BBC Newcastle)
We want to keep all our best young players.
There's been an offer from a Premier League team – or from a Premier League team at the moment, whether they will be at the end of the season is another matter – and it's kind of a decision [taken] above me on that one.
We'll see whether it gets finalised or not.
But there are players who have progressed into the first team, we have Jack Diamond coming back from his loan spell and I am looking forward to seeing him in pre-season, we have Elliot Embleton who has had a long period out through injury, so there is a pathway for our young players.
The problem is, as we all know, as contracts draw to a close and if a new contract hasn't been agreed, the lure of a move becomes very appealing to those players and their agents.
Sometimes, if it is made clear to a club that a player is not going to re-sign, it's best to get the maximum money you can at that time for that player and invest it elsewhere.
Parkinson on Aiden McGeady (BBC Newcastle)
There's the possibility to loan him out again next season.
We're just seeing how he progresses at Charlton between now and the end of the season.
Once Charlton's season is finished we'll sit down and we'll have a chat with Aiden.
Parkinson on Will Grigg (BBC Newcastle)
Will is a player who, since I’ve been at the club, gets mentioned in every press conference because of the size of the fee and the expectations when he came to the club.
He’s our player and he’s got to come back in pre-season and prove that he’s ready to stake a claim for a place in the team.
I’ve spoken to him in the last week or so. He’s got to get his personal situation worked out and get up and into the area so he’s not commuting up and down as much, and I really do feel that is important for Will so he can give himself the best chance to justify the reasons we brought him to the club.
Parkinson on Flanagan's contract offer (BBC Newcastle)
I don't think we're too far away with Flanno.
Over the next couple of days we've got to progress that one and try and push it over the line. Both parties know where we stand.
Flanno is a good lad, he's been reasonable, and we need to get that deal progressed sooner rather than later.
Parkinson on summer plans and Flanagan's future (BBC Newcastle)
Yeah, seven or eight new players is about what we're looking to bring in.
Tom Flanagan has a contract offer on the table. We're in negotiations with another player who I feel we're close to getting a deal done with.
Just like any summer it's about being patient and making sure you get the best players that are available within your budget.
That's what we're trying to do. Look at all possible scenarios and then get the best possible players in to make us really strong.