New details about Sunderland's manager search revealed

Sunderland spoke to 12 managerial contenders and handed interviews to eight, it has been confirmed.
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The latest minutes of the Supporters’ Collective Meeting – held on Wednesday evening – have been released on Friday evening.

Alex Neil won the search to become the new head coach and he is set to lead SAFC in his first home game at the Stadium of Light against MK Dons on Saturday.

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Ahead of the game, details of the process SAFC carried out to replace Lee Johnson as head coach have been released to supporters – and details of why Johnson was sacked.

Sunderland's Stadium of Light.Sunderland's Stadium of Light.
Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

When quizzed on the process for appointing a manager, the minutes read: “KS [Kristjaan Speakman] understands changing the Head Coach will always draw attention.

"There are 3 core elements that the head coach is judged against: (1) developing, improving and managing players, (2) the game model, and (3) winning games.

"The Head Coach operates in difficult waters, the intention is to create a system that supports the Head Coach and makes all the processes less dependent on a Head Coach – this allows him to focus on the core elements.

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"After inconsistent results and inconsistent levels of play analysis demonstrated a downward trend from late December.

"The club’s forecasting analysis suggested that the trajectory was to not gain automatic promotion but make the playoffs and any further deterioration of this would see a playoff place more uncertain.

“A board meeting was called and the decision was made to make a change.

"Lee Johnson did a lot of work to underpin our progress over the last year and he’s added to the legacy of the club. KS thanked Lee for this.”

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Regards the process itself – which took a total of 10 days - the minutes revealed: “Once the decision to change was made a review of the available information and data was undertaken and Candidates filtered against an 8 point criteria.

"The club spoke to 12, interviewed 8, and gave a second interview to 4 candidates.

"KS, Stuart English, Stuart Harvey and Dave Jones (Non-Exec Director) conducted the filtering process.

“KS and Stuart English conducted the first interviews and second interviews were undertaken by KS, SD, KLD [Kyril Louis-Dreyfus] and Dave Jones.

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"SD [Steve Davison] noted that extensive references had been taken on all four of the coaches invited for second interview.

"The process was right, and the best person has been found. PP noted that this was similar to an executive appointment in any business.

“KS said the availability of the candidates was a factor and possibly extended the process by 1-2 days.”

Neil was finally appointed on the eve of the 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon and the delay in his revealing has been explained.

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The minutes added: “Although a Heads of Terms had been agreed in principle, it needed to be legally agreed, and we encountered an administration hold up.

"An official announcement could not be made until the contract was signed, but AN [Alex Neil] was happy to take training and travel with the team to maximize match preparation time.”

Sunderland are in action against MK Dons on Saturday afternoon.