Jones Explains His New Role

Sunderland AFC executive director David Jones has been chatting to the press about his new role at SAFC. “It’s all happened very quickly,” he explains. “Stewart and I had a sort of very occasional dialogue over the time that he has been here. I’d met him a few times while I was at director at Oxford. When he took over the club I was hugely surprised and did reach out to say that I’d be delighted to help if I could. I was just leaving Oxford and so it seemed like a natural fit in that sense. He had his own way of doing things and wanted to go with his own team, which has obviously changed in recent weeks, and I think that he felt there were some gaps that needed filling. I won’t be here on a day-to-day basis, that’s the honest answer. I have a job with Sky and Stewart is very aware that is my priority. I’m a non-executive, which means I have in essence a part-time role here, I don’t want people to have false sense of what I’m doing. I’m not coming in on a white horse, to be here 24/7. I will help in any area that I can but it’s fair to say that my priority will be on the sporting side, and others will take care of the commercial and business side. We’ve spoken about structures around the first team, the academy, recruitment, and I think they probably all need addressing. It’s something we did at Oxford and I think I’m in a good position to help in that sense. We desperately need to create an environment where, players, managers and coaches can be successful. It’s not been that way for such a long time, I’ve sat on the outside like any other fan and thought, something needs to be addressed here. I’m in a position to do that now and hopefully I can.”

Jones also admitted that Sunderland are the only club he’s have given his spare time to: “At this stage, it’s the only club I would have done it for. I’ve got a great job which I’m very passionate about, a family that I love spending time with. So to pull me away for any length of time, it was going to take something pretty big, and there’s no other club that would have done that. Plus, I think I can help, I think I can have an impact. If I can’t, I won’t be here for very long. Stewart is aware of that and to his credit, I think that is why he got me in. I think he’s the kind of guy who likes to be challenged, and he will know that there’s an awful lot at stake for me personally. This is the football club I’ve supported for over 35 years, I’m not coming into this lightly because I don’t want to spoil that relationship that I have with the club and the fans. But it’s very clear to me and I’m sure that it’s clear to Stewart as well, if I don’t have the impact that I want to have, I won’t be here very long. This is not a vanity project for me, I’m coming in to try and help. If I don’t feel I can, I won’t be here very long. I’m under no illusions as to why I’m here now, because the club are 12th in League One. If we were in the Championship, I wouldn’t have got the call. We’re ten days or so before the opening of the transfer window and we need to make sure we’re not making mistakes. The first team needs bodies and it needs strengthening, but it has to be done in a structured way, which is hopefully the first thing that I can help with. In the longer term, as part of the club’s fall down the leagues, a lot has been stripped away and people know that, and we need to put building blocks in place to make sure that Sunderland is that at the top of people’s list. I’ll meet Tony Coton at the Academy today. I’ve spent time on the phone with Phil and after training today we’ll sit down and talk about that strategy. I want to bring best practice to our football club in every single area. The academy, the recruitment team, the scouting network. All that then feeds into having a first team that fans can be proud of. Hopefully we came inroads slowly but surely, while knowing that team is not on our side. I don’t have a magic wand, as much I’d love one, but I have their best interests and the football club’s best interests at heart with every single decision that I make.”