Kristjaan Speakman and Elliott Dickman react as surprise Newcastle United switch is confirmed

Kristjaan Speakman says Sunderland 'respect' Elliott Dickman's decision to pursue a new opportunity after the long-serving academy coach was this morning confirmed as Newcastle United's new U23 Lead Player Development Coach.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 1:53 pm

Sunderland have thanked Dickman for his 'immense' contribution as his 26-year association with the club comes to an end.

Dickman will manage Newcastle United' s youngsters for the first time on Friday night against Norwich City.

"On behalf of all at Sunderland AFC, we thank Elliott for his contribution over the past two decades," Speakman said.

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Elliott Dickman has joined Newcastle United

"His length of service is a rarity in the modern era and throughout his time at the Academy of Light, he has served the club with a passion and professionalism that has helped nurture and develop many talented players.

"Elliott’s desire to experience a new environment and pursue this opportunity is one that we respect, and we all wish him well in the next stage of his career.”

Dickman thanked Sunderland for the 'fantastic memories and experiences' through his time at the club and said the chance to join Steve Harper and former Black Cats' academy staff member Mark Atkinson as a 'fantastic opportunity'.

“I would like to thank Sunderland AFC for some fantastic memories and experiences during my time with the club," Dickman said. "I have worked with some excellent staff – both past and present – and I am incredibly proud of the achievements we have collectively made in helping and supporting many players fulfil their dreams. I would also like to thank the players I have coached over the last 26 years - it was a pleasure working with you and I wish you all continued success in your careers.

"I am very excited to join Steve Harper, Mark Atkinson, Neil Winskill and the rest of the Academy staff," he added.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to help develop and support Newcastle's young players in their ambitions to reach first team football.

"The work that Steve and his team have implemented so far is very impressive and I can't wait to get started."

Newcastle United academy manager Harper said he was 'delighted' to secure 'a meticulous coach with a real passion for the game.'

"We're delighted to bring Elliott to the club after a thorough recruitment process," he said.

"Elliott is a meticulous coach with a real passion for the game, and he's been an integral part of the success in developing players at Sunderland's Academy over several years.

"In recent years he's helped several players make that all-important jump from Academy football to the first team, and with the structures in place at our Academy and the ethos we're looking to build here, we're confident that he can help our young players follow in the footsteps of players like Sean and Matty Longstaff, Elliot Anderson and Kell Watts in making that big step for Newcastle United."

Sunderland's U23s started a new chapter with a 5-2 win over South Shields in the Durham Challenge Cup on Wednesday night.

The Black Cats were 2-0 down but a brace from Ellis Taylor, as well as goes for Ollie Younger, Stephen Wearne and Nicky Gyimah secured the win.

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