Former Sunderland star on relegation to League One, Ellis Short and Chris Coleman

Former Sunderland midfielder Alex Rae
Former Sunderland midfielder Alex Rae
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Former Sunderland star Alex Rae says the club needs new ownership and massive clear-out following relegation to League One.

Rae, who made over 100 appearances during one of Sunderland's most successful periods on the pitch, says the relentless turnover behind the scenes in recent years has taken its toll.

The former midfielder added that fresh ideas on and off the pitch will be key if the club is to bounce back.

He said: "You have to look at the way the club has been run.

"The chairman has brought in different directors of football and has constantly changed managers, which doesn’t help to achieve long term success.

"Continuously getting rid of managers has resulted in poor performances on the pitch and led to back-to-back relegations. They have found themselves with a lot of debt, with the club now in League One. I never thought a club of Sunderland’s size could actually go down to that level of football – and that’s with the greatest respect to League One.

"I just felt with the infrastructure Sunderland had, the stadium and the training ground, that I couldn’t see them ever going down this low. But Wolves did it a few years and by putting the right structure in place, they can bounce back up because they have that large following.

"I’m sure there’ll be players who want to leave the club because they don’t want to play in League One but off the back of such a poor season, they have to ask themselves the question: who’s actually going to take these guys on? I think there should be a mass clear-out.

"I think the board and Ellis Short are actively trying to sell the club as well at the moment. I think if he [Short] can get the club off his hands then I’m sure he will let it go.

"What they need is a new board, with new directors, new ideas which the supporters can then get behind because obviously next year they will be looking to bounce straight back up.

"They’ve got [George] Honeyman – who has been good but in the main there hasn’t been too many standouts in this season," he added.

"They have to get players off the wage bill – players like Jack Rodwell and Lamine Koné who from no fault of their own earn substantial money.

"John O’Shea will probably be leaving but they should try and keep the guys like Paddy McNair and build the team from there. They need an overhaul of the players who have been there for years because back-to-back relegations can’t be good for anyone."

Rae said he had been impressed with the appointment of Chris Coleman but that it would now be down the club to decide whether they can back him financially.

Should Coleman leave then he believes former team-mate Kevin Phillips could be the man for the job.

He said: "My first instinct when we got Chris Coleman was that we were going to stay up. He started getting a few positive results but unfortunately, they weren’t able to maintain that which has been disappointing from everyone’s point of view.

"I thought it was a great appointment at the time and a great shout from the Chief Executive Martin Bain. But obviously they’ve gone down now so it’s really up to the board whether they want to stick with Chris and back him financially.

"One of the things that they haven’t done is back him financially because of the money they have spent over the last six or seven years. They’ve wasted a hell of a lot of money.

"It may be a case of them sticking with Coleman and letting him have a go at it, although whether he wants to stay is another question.

"If Chris goes or the board decide to let him go, then I think the person who could change it around for Sunderland is someone like Kevin Phillips, who has a very good relationship with the supporters – who are quite disillusioned at the moment."

The full interview with Alex Rae and Betstars can be found here.