Stewart Donald reveals why he poached Tony Coton from Aston Villa for Sunderland recruitment role

Stewart Donald
Stewart Donald

Sunderland today appointed Tony Coton as their new head of recruitment - and Stewart Donald has revealed why.

The former Black Cats' goalkeeper has left his role at Villa Park to return to Wearside, where he spent a short spell as a player in 1996/97.

His former role at Villa saw him lead on the club's recruitment and he has also spent time at Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers.

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And this experience is one of the key reasons why Donald was keen to bring Coton to the Stadium of Light.

Recruitment has been one of Sunderland's major failings in recent seasons, with a number of unsuccessful purchases playing a part in the club's back-to-back relegations.

Donald is keen to see such errors in judgement avoided moving forward and believes Coton's knowledge of the game will ensure that they are eradicated.

That - accompanied with a hard-working attitude that Donald and fellow director Charlie Methven are keen to instil into the football club - made him the ideal appointment.

“I am delighted to welcome Tony to Sunderland," Donald admitted.

"Recruitment is fundamental for any football club and in Tony we have a man with significant experience and contacts in this vital area.

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“He is passionate, honest and hard working – the exact qualities we want in anyone coming to this football club.

"He has a tremendous knowledge of English football and understands what characteristics are required, on and off the pitch, to achieve success.

“Tony played a vital role in reshaping Aston Villa’s squad and ensuring it was equipped to do well in the Football League.

"Working alongside Jack, his appointment will help ensure we can hit the ground running and attract the right type of players to Sunderland."

Coton himself was delighted to return to his former stomping ground, and is keen to work alongside new boss Jack Ross having been impressed by his vision for the direction of the club.

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“I am incredibly excited about returning to Sunderland as a new era starts and the rebuilding begins," he said.

“Having met Jack Ross, I have been hugely impressed by his vision of how he wants his Sunderland team to play and I am enthused by the challenge of bringing in the players we need to realise that vision.

“Between Jack, myself and the rest of the recruitment staff, I am confident we can help build a team that can take the club forward and I am excited to get started.”