Sunderland coach Robbie Stockdale opens up about Chris Coleman's shock sacking

Robbie Stockdale has admitted Chris Coleman's sacking came as a big shock to the Sunderland backroom staff.

Friday, 4th May 2018, 2:35 pm
Updated Friday, 4th May 2018, 2:41 pm
Sunderland coach Robbie Stockdale.
Sunderland coach Robbie Stockdale.

Coleman was sacked by chief executive Martin Bain on Sunday morning shortly before it was announced that Ellis Short had sold the club to a consortium led by Stewart Donald, subject to EFL approval.

Sunderland pulled off a major coup to attract former Wales boss Coleman to the Stadium of Light last November but he was unable to steer the club to Championship safety.

Coleman wanted to remain at the club and lead the League One promotion charge but he was sacked ahead of the new regime taking charge,

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Stockdale has spoken to Coleman via text and phone calls this week and admits the Welshman was upset and disappointed to be leaving Wearside early, Coleman had two years left on his deal.

First team coach Stockdale has been taking training at the Academy of Light and will oversee the visit of champions Wolves on Sunday lunchtime (KO 12.30pm), the final game of the Championship campaign.

LIVE Sunderland AFC blog - Takeover and manager update plus finances revealed and Stockdale press conferenceWhen asked about Coleman's departure, Stockdale said: "It was a shock. I was surprised when I heard the news and I think we're all, within the building, very disappointed he has gone, along with Kit [Symons].

"They were excellent to work for, great people, I thought it was a real coup to get them and I'm sure they will have numerous opportunities and will choose the right one.

"I have spoken to Chris via text and by ringing him a few times.

"He was [upset]. We were putting in plans for next year, for him not to see that through disappointed him but that is the reality of football.

"You are never really surprised by what goes on but it was a shock at the time."

Coleman, who was willing to take a pay cut, had openly spoken of his desire to stay in charge of Sunderland in the third tier.

Stockdale added: "Yes, he'd come out and said that. These things happen. It is one guarantee in football that you will lose your job occasionally.

"He is fine and will move on, along with Kit. We wish them well for the future.

"The last two months, performances had picked up, the players were certainly playing for him.

"It would be unfair for me to surmise how the players are feeling but I imagine it wouldn't be too far away from how the staff are feeling."

LIVE Sunderland AFC blog - Takeover and manager update plus finances revealed and Stockdale press conferenceStockdale admitted it had been a "long week" at the Academy of Light but the players and remaining coaching staff have no choice but to "suck it up and get on with it."

Donald's takeover is still awaiting approval by the EFL, a decision could come in the next week.

When asked if the new owners were to offer Stockdale the job, what would he say, he added: "I think it would be highly unlikely. I don't want to get into that.

"I have not met who potentially the new owners could be or anything like that, I would say it is unlikely."

He added: "It has been a long week.

"The gap in between the two games has been longer than normal and quite a lot has gone on in between - it has been a strange week.

"But we are nearly at the final game and we are prepared as well as we can for it."