Andy Reid has opened up about his time at the Stadium of Light revealing everything from how he signed for Sunderland from Charlton Athletic to Roy Keane and what the Irishman’s biggest regret was as Sunderland manager.
On signing for the Lads, he said, “I went up there (Sunderland) to speak to them and I was there all day. I was in a fortunate enough position in that I wasn’t desperate to get out of Charlton. I was going back to a team that were third in the Championship; they had a real good chance of getting promoted, a manager that I liked playing under and I was settled enough down in London, I kind of liked it. So I went up and I kind of played hardball a little bit with what I was looking for and what I was asking because I wasn’t desperate to go up there and it started to get difficult to get the deal done. Roy (Keane) came in and said ‘is the deal done?’ and the chief executive at the time said ‘no, we’re still a little bit way off and he’s wanting this...’ so Roy calls me into his office and sat me down. I had a little injury at the time, a little medial ligament injury but I was due to start back training, he says ‘where are you at with the injury, where do you see yourself playing, what do you think you can bring to the team? I told him what I thought and he told me what he thought, we walked back into the room where the chief executive was sitting and he says ‘listen, get the deal done, give him what he wants’. Roy walked out and we got it done!”
He spoke of Keano’s biggest regret as Sunderland boss too, how he brought in players who caused problems in the dressing room and on the training pitch as well as about staying in the Premier League on the last day of the season. “Roy said to us 'you're too nice, so I'm bringing in some people who aren't so nice'. That's what he wanted to do. I don't know if anyone has ever asked him about it, but I'd imagine he regrets bringing them in because there was a real imbalance in the squad. It started to get out of hand with arguments and fights in training all the time, Roy ended up leaving. El-Hadji Diouf was fighting with everybody; he pulled out a knife on Anton Ferdinand. That happened, that's not me telling you anything that's not already out there. That was public knowledge. We stayed up that season after Ricky Sbragia and Dwight Yorke took over. We stayed up by default really; we maybe won one game in the last ten or something like that. We stayed up because Newcastle were worse and then Duffer (Damien Duff) scored an own goal on the last day of the season against Villa. We lost our last game at home to Chelsea, 2-1, and we just had to match or better Newcastle's result. We did and we stayed up, but by total default really. We were struggling, there was people pulling in all different directions.”