Timeline: Emmanuel Eboue sacking caps a month from hell for Sunderland AFC

Sunderland AFC's Stadium of Light
Sunderland AFC's Stadium of Light

Sunderland AFC have played just one game in 28 days on the pitch but off it they have endured a March from hell.

Two players have been sacked, Adam Johnson and Emmanuel Eboue, while former chief executive Margaret Byrne handed in her notice in the wake of the Johnson scandal.

Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson

We recap a troubled recent spell at the Stadium of Light:

March 2: Former Sunderland winger Adam Johnson found guilty of child sex charge.

Shamed England footballer Adam Johnson was found guilty of sexual activity with a child.

The 28-year-old, of Castle Eden, County Durham, admitted grooming and one count of sexual activity with a child at Bradford Crown Court, and was found guilty of one other charge on March 2.

Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson

He was cleared of a further offence.

Judge Jonathan Rose adjourned the case for sentencing.

Johnson was sacked by Sunderland on February 11 after pleading guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a child, ahead of the start of the trial for the other offences.

March 8: Byrne resigns as Sunderland chief executive over Johnson case.

Former Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne

Former Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne

Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne resigned in the wake of Adam Johnson's sex offence convictions.

Byrne said in a statement: "I recognise that, as CEO, my involvement with Mr Johnson and the decision to allow him to continue to represent Sunderland was a serious mistake."

Pressure has been growing on Byrne ever since Johnson claimed during his Crown Court trial that he had made full and frank admissions to the club and she had all the messages exchanged and transcripts from police interviews.

Sunderland initially suspended Johnson for a fortnight in March last year, but then allowed him back into the squad as the club fought relegation, and he was able to make a further 28 appearances.

Emmanuel Eboue

Emmanuel Eboue

March 9: Sunderland confirm the free signing of Emmanuel Eboue.

The 32-year-old former Ivory Coast international had been on trial at Sunderland before penning a deal until the end of the season.

Eboue was part of the Gunners’ side which made it to the UEFA Champions League Final in 2006, spending eight seasons in North London before joining Turkish giants Galatasaray.

March 24: Adam Johnson sentenced to six years in prison for child sex offences.

Judge Jonathan Rose jailed Johnson for six years after a sentencing hearing.

He was also ordered to pay £50,000 costs and given a restraining order against contacting the girl.

Emmanuel Eboue

Emmanuel Eboue

He told Johnson: “You were her favourite player. She had a crush on you – that is to say a young teenager’s adoration of a successful celebrity.”

March 31: FIFA announce that Eboue has been handed a one-year ban after failing to pay a debt owed to ex-agent Sébastien Boisseau.

Eboue went before FIFA's disciplinary commission back in September 2014, who fined him 30,000 Swiss Francs, plus ruling that he had to pay the debt owed.

The former Ivory Coast international had 120 days to pay the fee, otherwise Boisseau would be able to ask for Eboue to be banned from all football related activity for a year.

But the payment was not made, while Eboue's appeal was also rejected.

A FIFA statement today confirmed that Eboue is now banned for the next year, unless he pays the outstanding amount owed.

March 31: Less than an hour later Eboue's short-term contract with Sunderland AFC is terminated.

A Sunderland statement said: "The suspension relates to a monetary dispute between the player and a former agent, which precedes his time at Sunderland AFC and was not something that the club was made aware of by the player.

"Eboue signed a contract with Sunderland AFC until the end of the current season and the club has therefore given notice of its intention to terminate the contract. "

Eboue did not make a competitive appearance for Sunderland, but did appear for the Under-21 side and featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Middlesbrough last week after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Eboue has two weeks to appeal the decision.