Former Black Cat making his way in coaching world.
Gavin McCann was labelled as the model professional by many; his no-nonsense, heart on his sleeve approach won the hearts of the Black Cats fans between 1998 and 2003.
McCann made more appearances for Sunderland than any other club during his 16-year career.
Running out onto the pitch in front of a full house at the Stadium of Light was special – there was always a really good atmosphere
- Gavin McCann
And he says going out onto the pitch at the Stadium of Light is his fondest memory of his time on Wearside.
“I really enjoyed my time up at Sunderland; it’s a fantastic setup on and off the pitch," he explained.
“Running out onto the pitch in front of a full house at the Stadium of Light was special – there was always a really good atmosphere.”
And, since his retirement at the age of 32, the former England international has gone into coaching.
As well as helping to set up the McCann-Milligan Football Academy, McCann also coaches youngsters at Bolton Wanderers.
The McCann-Milligan Football Academy was set-up in 2011 by McCann and his good friend, Jamie Milligan, with the aim of getting youngsters in the Fylde borough off the street and on to the football pitch – something the former Black Cat believes in strongly.
“I was keen to coach youngsters close to home, really,” he added.
“Me and my mate set up the academy just to give kids the opportunity to play football.”
The 35-year-old took further steps into coaching this year, when he became Assistant Manager at Hyde FC.
It's a role he says he is thoroughly enjoying.
“When I had to finish my career early due to injury, I stuck with the game and did my coaching badges.
“I like doing the job with Hyde as it gives me something to look forward to on a Saturday – there’s a competitive edge and something to play for."
Hyde entertain Conference Premier high-flyers Mansfield tonight (Tuesday), with half of their squad out injured – but McCann has ruled out a cameo.
“I don’t think they’re that desperate,” he joked.
“We are a bit short on numbers at the moment and scratching around for players – but that’s management.”