Jack Ross is Sunderland’s new manager and will be joined by assistant manager James Fowler. 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.”
A delighted 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.”
Ross continued: “It’s a fantastic honour because I understand the magnitude of the job and the size of the club. Probably the biggest attraction is the potential of the club, as well the fans and history, but that potential to hopefully take it back through the leagues again is one that really excites me. There are a lot of parallels between the job I’ve done recently and the position Sunderland find themselves in, so hopefully that will stand me in good stead. I’m from the outside looking in until I get started properly, but the one thing I know I don’t have to worry about is the loyalty of that fanbase and its passion for the club. It’s been the one constant over the last few years during difficult times, so my job – how it’s been described to me and how I want it – is to rebuild the club from inside out, and if I can do that then hopefully we can re-establish that connection between the club and its supporters. That’s vitally important and, as I mentioned, that’s something I had at the job I’ve just finished, as when I took it there was a real disconnect. I pride myself on how I communicate with everybody and I’m looking forward to rebuilding that connection, because if you get that connection right it’s bloody powerful. It is a real privilege, and I can’t wait to get started.”
The club have also announced that Tony Davison has joined us from Tottenham Hotspur in the newly-created position of Managing Director. Tony, a life-long Sunderland fan, he formerly worked at SAFC and even pitched in as club mascot on occasion. Tony is well known to ALS and is a top lad with the club at heart. 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.”