James Fowler reveals emotional scenes at Academy of Light after Sunderland sacked Jack Ross
James Fowler has paid tribute to the work done by Jack Ross as Sunderland boss and revealed the emotional scenes at the Academy of Light when news broke of his sacking.
Ross was sacked on Tuesday afternoon just hours before the 3-2 EFL Trophy win over Grimsby Town at the Stadium of Light.
Ross had taken training before the news was delivered to him that his spell on Wearside was over.
Fowler, along with coaches John Potter and Craig Samson, were asked to take the game and the next two training sessions.
Speaking post match, Fowler - whose own future remains unclear - dedicated the win to Ross.
Fowler said: “That one was for the manager.
“The boys from start to finish were good after what has been a really tough day.
“It has been a tough day but credit to the players how they responded tonight.
“It shows how highly the manager is regarded.
“Even the staff at the academy, everybody is gutted the way it panned out.
“That is football sometimes. We all have our opinions. We had to be professional tonight.
“The gaffer has already sent a message saying well done, that is the mark of the man.
“He will be disappointed how it ended but he can leave with his head held high, a lot of that is behind the scenes, bringing the academy as a whole back together again.
“Everyone would vouch for that. We are gutted.”
Fowler added: “It is emotional, I am really gutted for him. I have worked closely with him for three years, I have seen how much he has turned the club around, from day one, the things he has had to deal with in terms of players in and out.
“He has also tried to change the culture, the biggest thing for me is the staff around the academy and the relationship he has built.
“Not just football staff, non-football staff too, there have been tears shed today. Credit to him how he brought everyone back together again.”
When asked about his own future at Sunderland, Fowler added: “I have been asked, myself and John Potter and Craig Samson, to take the game and the players are in for a few days, to take the next two training sessions.
“We take it from there and see what comes next.
“The manager sent a message to say well done to us, that was appreciated by us, it has been a tough day for him and his family.
“I have been in that position myself as a manager. It has been tough, we are professional in what we do.
“We spoke to the manager and found out at 3pm today when he came in to see us. He said get the boys going and get a performance. I didn’t expect anything less.
“The players will be shocked as well, it is never nice, that is football. When it happens on the eve of a match as well, for them to put in the performance.
“We have great leaders, Grant Leadbitter is an ultimate professional, he knew what was to be expected and nice to win the game for the manager.”