Friday 18 January 2019

Sunderland a club in 'complete darkness' - Coleman

Sunderland manager Chris Coleman. Photo: Dave Howarth/PA
Sunderland manager Chris Coleman. Photo: Dave Howarth/PA

Luke Edwards

Chris Coleman has described Sunderland as a club in "complete darkness" as it comes to terms with relegation to League One and the continued failure of owner Ellis Short to find a buyer.

Short has been trying to sell the club for almost two years and, having failed to find anyone suitable when the Black Cats were in the Premier League, he has found it even more difficult as they followed relegation from the top flight by crashing out of the Championship last week following a home defeat to Burton Albion.

Coleman has not spoken to Short since he replaced Simon Grayson as manager back in November. The former Wales manager answers to chief executive Martin Bain, who has also been heavily criticised in recent weeks as Sunderland made it two relegations in 12 months under his watch.

Bain reassured supporters this week that, while Short has no interest in the day-to-day running of the club and is still searching for a buyer, he will not put the business into administration and will cover external debts.

Coleman, though, knows a new owner is needed and painted a bleak picture of the future without one.

"The unthinkable has happened," said Coleman, who has won just five games as Black Cats boss. "A club like Sunderland, it's almost floating aimlessly in the dark. We can't start working yet because we haven't got anyone telling us what we can or can't do. At the minute, it's complete darkness. It's unnerving and unsettling."

Coleman (right) is adamant he wants to stay to try and lead Sunderland back to the Championship, but he could not resist taking a swipe at one of the players who has come to symbolise the extraordinary waste of money that has put the club in such turmoil.

Jack Rodwell was signed from Manchester City for £10m in August 2014 but has rarely played in that time because of a catalogue of minor injuries and is understood to have turned down a loan move in January.

As a result, the 27-year-old, who earns £70,000-a-week on Wearside, has not played a first team game since September and has been banished to train with the U-23 squad by an exasperated Coleman.

"We're stuck with a player who doesn't want to play for Sunderland Football Club. Fine, so go and play for somebody else. But the stumbling block is the contract."

Although Rodwell will take a 40pc pay cut if he stays at Sunderland when they are in League One, he will still be the highest-paid player in the division's history if he refuses to leave. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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