Sunderland reshuffle Academy coaching roles
Written by Simon Austin — September 5, 2018
NEW Academy Manager Paul Reid has promoted a number of his coaching staff at Category One Sunderland.
Reid, who was previously Head of Player Recruitment and Strategy at non-league Eastleigh FC, took over from Jimmy Sinclair at the Stadium of Light in the summer.
Despite the club now being in the third tier of English football, owner Stewart Donald has said he wants to retain Category One status. Sunderland are one of only 24 top tier Academies in the country.
Former Carlisle defender Reid worked under Donald when the businessman owned Eastleigh.
Reid has promoted Mark Atkinson from Under-18s coach to Head of Coaching; Paul Bryson from U16s to U18s; and Michael Proctor to the U15s/ U16s, while he will continue to assist Elliott Dickman with the U23s.
There were a number of departures from the Black Cats' Academy in the summer. As well as Sinclair leaving, Head of Coach Development Mark McCormick exited for personal reasons and Cliff Byrne, who had been assisting with the U23s, left to become assistant manager of Doncaster.
Donald wants the club to hold onto Category One status despite the Academy costing £4m a year to run.
“We want to keep it as a Category One Academy and it is expensive to run,” he said in the summer. “I think we have to evaluate that but we don’t want to become a Category Two academy.
“Category One was not passed off first time as I understand it. It took work to keep Category One before. So we have to get in there and understand why it didn’t just sail through but I want to keep Category One status, and I think we will.”
Sunderland ranked 44th in our Academy Productivity rankings for 2016/17. Only Brighton, Stoke and Swansea were below them of the Category One clubs.
Twenty graduates of the Academy were playing pro football in the top five divisions - compared to 39 from Category Two and League Two Crewe, who were ninth.
However, the club does have a pedigree of producing top players. England internationals Jordan Pickford and Jordan Henderson are both Sunderland Academy graduates, while 16-year-old Bali Mumba has already made four first-team league appearances for the club.