As a new era begins at Sunderland AFC, the club is delighted to welcome Jack Ross as its manager. The 41-year-old has signed a two-year contract and will be joined by assistant manager James Fowler at the Stadium of Light.
Ross is the reigning Scottish Championship Manager of the Year and PFA Scotland Manager of the Year after leading St Mirren to the Scottish Championship title in 2017-18.
Sunderland Chairman Stewart Donald said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured Jack as our new manager. Jack is excited to be a part of the future we are building here, and the fact he turned down lucrative offers from elsewhere, including clubs currently in a higher division than ourselves, is testament to his commitment and desire to succeed at this club and his belief in our vision for the future.
“He joins us following an excellent start to his managerial career, including a memorable 2017-18 campaign with St Mirren, and was deeply impressive throughout the recruitment process. We have acted swiftly and the hard work now continues in earnest as we look towards the ultimate goal of getting Sunderland AFC back to where it should be.”
Speaking about his appointment, Jack Ross said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to take charge of an incredible football club. If you look the history, the facilities and most important of all, the fanbase, you can see what this club can be. To be part of the team to help realise that potential is something that fills me with excitement.
“From the moment I spoke to Stewart and Charlie, their energy and enthusiasm was evident and I share in that. There’s a lot of work to be done in re-shaping the squad to ensure that we hit the ground running in League One, and I can’t wait to get started.”Following a playing career which included spells at Clyde, Hartlepool, Falkirk and St Mirren, Ross moved into coaching as assistant manager at Dumbarton prior to a spell at Hearts.
He took charge of Alloa Athletic in December 2015, leaving for St Mirren just under a year later with Alloa in second place in the Scottish League One table, having put together a club-record winning streak of 10 games.
Ross guided St Mirren, who had been adrift at the bottom of the table, to safety in the Scottish Championship in his first season before the Buddies took the league title by 12 points in a truly dominant 2017-18 campaign.
Along the way, they won more games than any other side (23), lost joint-fewest (8), scored more goals than any other team (63) and finished with the best goal difference (+27).
Following on from the announcement that the position of CEO has been made redundant, some other senior executives have also departed. Academy manager Jim Sinclair has confirmed his intention to retire. The head of recruitment has left the club, along with the director of change and the head of marketing. A number of other individuals across the club are also leaving.
Moving forward the club will be led by a small team of senior executives, who have proactively taken salary cuts as a clear demonstration of their desire to be part of the new owners’ vision for the future.
That team will be led by Tony Davison, who joins from Tottenham Hotspur in the newly-created position of Managing Director. Tony, a life-long Sunderland fan, brings with him a wealth of commercial and marketing acumen from over 20 years of working in football, and will drive forward the club’s overall commercial operation, along with using his regional knowledge to re-engage with supporters and the local business community.
Executive director Charlie Methven said: “Having worked with Tony in a variety of roles over the last decade, Stewart and I knew from the start that he was the man with the experience, desire and contacts to implement the vision that we have for the re-engagement of Sunderland AFC with its fans and the local business community.
“Tony is passionate about Sunderland and the fact that he has left a senior executive position at a top Premier League club and taken a lower wage to come back to his home city, demonstrates what his values are.
“As we move forward, it is important to place on record our thanks to those people leaving the club. Decisions of this nature are never taken lightly.
“However, when we arrived it was abundantly clear that the infrastructure and team that we inherited was not aligned with our clear goal of ensuring each and every opportunity at this football club is realised and maximised.
“This is not a reflection on the specific individuals who have departed, who leave with our sincere good wishes, but on the inflated and therefore inefficient infrastructure that developed over a number of years and the resultant culture which grew around it.
“Fundamentally, every pound that supporters put into their football club has to influence positively its future success. Fans need to see their hard-earned money being used wisely and in the right areas and to do that we have a responsibility to be lean, productive and focussed. Ensuring that we are ready for the challenge of League One is our priority and the club’s operation will reflect that aim.“Stewart and I have moved quickly and decisively to pull together a tight, driven group of people to serve the interests of Sunderland and its fans. We are excited by the opportunity to get this club back to what it should be, and the hard work starts now.”