Kristjaan Speakman issues update on Sunderland's search for new head coach and answers key fan concerns

Sunderland recently met with the supporter collective to discuss a number of key topics
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Kristjaan Speakman has issued a number of updates on Sunderland's search for a new head coach, underlining the club's desire to be patient in order to make the right appointment.

It appears certain that Mike Dodds will remain in post until the summer, with the club's sporting director stating that he expects results to improve in the coming weeks as some key players return from injury and suspension. Speakman was one of a number of club figures who met with the supporter collective on March 12th, at which an update on the Black Cats Bar debacle was shared on behalf of Kyril Louis-Dreyfus.

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Speakman was asked about the club's search for Michael Beale's replacement at the meeting, and said that discussions had started to take place.

"KS explained that the Club has confidence in the team and the team behind the team," the minutes read.

"There are players returning over the coming weeks and although it’s a difficult moment, we need to be together. He referenced the exceptional support at Southampton and believes fans will maintain a positive focus towards the team. On the Head Coach search, he added that the club consciously had a period of reflection after Michael Beale’s departure and are now engaging in meetings with prospective Head Coaches. This will flow into formal interviews and a decision."

Speakman also said that he had sought out the opinions of supporters on an informal basis earlier this year to better understand that and confirmed that the poor style of play on offer was a key factor in Beale's eventual dismissal.

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"KS referenced that this was also recognised within the Club," said in response to a comment from supporters on the decline in playing style over the course of the season.

"The intention was to enhance the playing identity and improve results. In a desire to improve, Michael placed a focus on not conceding certain types of goals – this negatively affected the playing style too much."

Speakman also responded to a couple of concerns raised by supporters about the recruitment process for the new head coach, confirming that a potential candidate would be allowed to make some additions to the coaching team after Beale arrived entirely on his own earlier in the year.

"KS confirmed a Head Coach would be able to bring in an assistant coach(es), providing it was an appropriate recommendation," the minutes read.

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"He added that the Club are also keen to maintain consistency and continuity across football operations, as like new ideas, input and people, this will aid success."

Speakman also said the club would consider paying compensation to recruit a candidate from another club, something that has not happened since his arrival. However, he also outlined his opinion that this would not guarantee a successful appointment.

"KS felt there was little correlation to a compensation fee and future success – there are simply too many variables," the minutes read.

"Opportunities must be viable and sensible, but that does not mean the Club wouldn’t source a Head Coach currently in post at another Club."

The next meeting between the club and the supporter collective will take place on May 9th. The full minutes from this month's meeting are available here.