Jack Ross on player power and recruitment as Sunderland look to learn lessons from saga
Having been heavily involved with the PFA in Scotland, Jack Ross has a slightly unique position with regards to the saga that has dominated the headlines this week.
The Sunderland boss has overseen a summer of dizzying change in which he has to had to deal with all manner of recruitment issues, tidying up years of misplaced spending.
As the wider footballing world begins to debate the role and prominence of agents, Ross has seen first hand the impact it can have on a club and the challenges that can be posed.
He knows, however, that much of the support in place to help players is there for a good reason.
As ever, it is about finding the balance.
“I used to work with the PFA and I’ve done quite a bit of work for FIFPRO [the global players’ union],” said Ross.
“I’ve seen some cases where players have been treated appallingly by clubs.
“There’s probably more procedures put in place to protect the player when the club was wrong, so there has to be that balance between the two. My role has changed because I’m a manager now, but I would never take the stance of saying that all players are wrong all the time.”
Ross, of course, has had the complex saga with Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong taken out of his hands virtually from the start.
The Sunderland boss admitted on Thursday that a brief conversation with Djilobodji at the Academy of Light last week had been the sum of his interaction with the pair.
The key for him and the football club will be ensuring that recruitment is far more robust in the years to come.
"I’m not casting aspersions over the people who have been here in the past and made decisions, but they’ve probably got too many wrong," he said.
“I’ve got ones wrong in the past, and I’m sure I’ll continue to do that.
“But you have to get more right than you don’t, and you certainly have to make sure they never develop into something that can have a detrimental effect on the football club.
“We need to make sure we’ve got a different process in place, and there will be. We’re playing a catch-up a little bit in that respect because it was a new start for everybody, and Tony [Coton] has had to spend so much time on moving players out and finding solutions to particular problems he’s not been able to do what he was intended to do, but that will hopefully start to pick up now.”