Chris Coleman believes Sunderland’s dramatic downturn was difficult to foresee after it was revealed several players will avoid a further pay cut should the club suffer successive relegations.
Sunderland are six points adrift at the foot of the Championship and on the brink of relegation to the third tier for only the second time in the club’s history.
When Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League last summer the squad had a 40 per cent pay cut.
Outcast Jack Rodwell, on £70,000 a week, was the only player to avoid the cut but his wage reduction kicks in this summer after it was triggered as a result of Sunderland failing to make an immediate return to the top flight.
Instead, Sunderland again find themselves at the wrong end of the table.
And if Sunderland do suffer successive relegations then there will be pay cuts, similar to the percentage drop last year, for several players, as revealed by the Echo.
But it will only affect those who joined - or have signed new contracts - since relegation from the Premier League, the likes of Jason Steele, Robbin Ruiter, Aiden McGeady and Callum McManaman.
We understand those who signed their deals before last summer and took a 40 per cent cut following relegation won’t see their wages reduced further, players including Lee Cattermole, Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong.
It means unless Sunderland can move them on, the club will have some big earners on the books with League One football on the cards.
When asked how difficult that will be to deal with should Sunderland go down, Coleman said: “Some of the boys that signed those contracts in the Premier League, in fairness to the club and whoever was here I don’t think anybody could have envisaged us being here, three or four years down the line.
“Hence why, in some of the contracts, there is nothing written in there because I don’t think anybody really saw that happening.
“Some of the guys who signed later on, there are stipulations for contract change.
“I have voiced my opinion on how some of the things have been done here, but I think some of the boys who have been here longer when they were finishing in mid-table in the Premier League, I don’t think you could say in two years time Sunderland will be on the verge of going to League One.
“So, it is unfortunate the way it has happened.
“It will depend on who is here in terms of who the owner is, whether it is Ellis or someone new.
“I don’t know if it is someone new what plans they will have.
“We don’t even know what plans Ellis will have for us.
“It is one of those things, nobody really saw that happening.”
Sunderland travel to Reading on Saturday with just four games of the Championship campaign left.