Charlie Methven makes a candid admission on how Sunderland's former ownership handled the Josh Maja contract saga
Ex-Sunderland director Charlie Methven says that Josh Maja should not be blamed for the manner of his exit from the Stadium of Light – as the striker continues to shine in the Premier League.
Maja rejoined former club Fulham on loan in the January window and has caught the eye in the top flight, with Scott Parker’s side looking to mount a remarkable escape from relegation danger.
The 22-year-old’s brace against Everton earlier this month prompted talk on Wearside to turn back to the winter of 2019, when Maja was allowed to join Bordeaux after talks over a new contract failed to reach a positive conclusion.
But former director Methven, who still retains a minority shareholding in the club, says the finger should not be pointed at Maja himself for the exit.
“It certainly wasn’t Josh’s fault,” said Methven, speaking to The Athletic.
“If anything it was our fault, and a lack of communication between the football director and Jack (Ross). We should have made sure he was tied down to a longer contract before they started him as their first-choice striker.
"It was the seminal moment of our ownership of Sunderland.”
Maja’s contract talks were played out in front of the Netflix cameras and broadcast on the second series of Sunderland ‘Til I Die – but Methven felt the ultimate portrayal of the youngster wasn’t a particularly fair one.
"It was unfair. It was dramatised, it amped up the awkward moments,” he said.
"I don’t think it fully reflected the genuinely difficult position that a young man found himself in.”