Aiden McGeady makes remarkable Phil Parkinson admission after being frozen out at Sunderland
The arrival of Lee Johnson as the club’s new Head Coach saw McGeady return to the fold on Wearside, after Phil Parkinson had abruptly told him he had no future at the club last December.
The 34-year-old says it was ‘really, really difficult’ as rumours swirled as to the circumstances surrounding his exclusion, and says Parkinson could not offer any specific reason when challenged as to why he was deemed to be ‘too negative’ to be around the senior group.
The Irishman also offered a candid assessment of Parkinson’s time in charge.
"To be honest, I still to this day don't really know what happened,” McGeady said.
"I never really had an argument or a falling out with Phil Parkinson, a big fight or anything [like that].
"The day that he banished me, I went into the canteen to speak to the lads and say 'I'm done'. Everyone was like, 'what you talking about? Shut up?’
"It literally happened where, he used to call me in for meetings all the time, to ask for my opinion on things. He would call me and Grant Leadbitter in every couple of days to ask for our thoughts on things. So the week leading up to the Gillingham game, we were on a bad run, not playing well, losing games.
"The atmosphere around the whole club was quite low at the time.
"On the Tuesday before the Gillingham game, he called me in and said, 'you're our best player, I need to get you on the ball more in the final third'. He said he was going to play me as a number ten against Gillingham.
"On the Thursday he called me in again and said he was going to change it, to play with two strikers and three at the back. I said, ‘OK’.
"I never got off the bench during the game, we were off Sunday, trained Monday, and then on Tuesday morning I got called to go and see him again.
"I hadn't even got changed into my kit yet. He literally just said, 'I don't want you round the place anymore'.
"I asked why, and he said 'I think you're maybe too negative for the group'. I said, 'well, we've won two out of fifteen mate, there's obviously a problem'.
"He couldn't give me any examples of what I'd done wrong, any moments.
"He said he'd made his decision and that was it, really.
"I was absolutely raging, obviously, but part of me thought he would get the sack soon so I'll just hang on.
”Because, I don't want to be too disrespectful but I could tell after ten days he wasn't the right man for the job,” McGeady added.
"We went from Jack Ross to him, you hear what people say, about him being old school and that. We didn't play football, we had no gameplan, we hardly even trained, it wasn't right.
"I thought I'd outlast him but the team went on a run. I think he almost used me as a scapegoat, to deflect and say that I was the problem.
"To be fair, he almost came away smelling of roses because the team went on a good run.
"I've had to deal with everything that's gone on in the last year, people saying things about me and people jumping on the back of the rumours.
"There was no problem between me and Phil Parkinson, that was the crazy thing and the thing I couldn't get my head around.”
McGeady opted to go on loan to Charlton Athletic in January, but after living in London away from his family, decided he would choose to stay on Wearside this summer.
The winger has revealed he twice approached Parkinson to try and broker a return.
“I realised for a while I would never play for him again,” he said.
“Obviously I'm quite stubborn and he's extremely stubborn, so I thought I'm going to go in and say sorry for whatever it is that I'm allegedly done.
“I went to see him twice and apologised. I just wanted to play, and said I'd be willing to anything to play.
“Both times I went to see him he said he'd think about it, and a week, ten days passed without me hearing anything. I went to see him again and he said he wouldn't change it.
“In the summer the narrative changed, it wasn't that I was negative, it was that he wanted to play the young players. He mentioned Embo [Elliot Embleton], Jack Diamond, Dan Neil.
“Then something changed about six, seven weeks ago.
“The manager brought me in and said ‘we're maybe going to bring you back’, but that I was too unfit.
“I said I've been training for four months, I understand I've not played games but can I not train with the first team? He said, no you need an extra programme.
“So I said I’d do it, and played for the U23s.
“Then a week later he was gone.
“It's telling that when Jack Ross got sacked, the lads were shocked and gutted.
“When he left, everyone went to see him.
“When Phil Parkinson got sacked, I didn't hear anyone mutter a word. I didn't hear any of that and that tells its own story.”