Ex-Sunderland boss explains biggest regret and eyes next job five-and-a-half months after League One sacking

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Former Sunderland boss Lee Johnson has been reflecting on his spell at the Stadium of Light.

Former Sunderland boss Lee Johnson says he’s keen to get back into management and has reflected on his time at the Stadium of Light.

Johnson was sacked by League One side Fleetwood last December, before the club’s relegation to League Two, and has also managed in Scotland at Hibernian since leaving Wearside.

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Speaking to the Daily Mail about potentially returning to management, Johnson, who also spent over four years at Bristol City, said: “I’m really hungry to get back, that's for sure. And I have a point to prove. I really do believe in what I can do and the value I can add. But football is a bit like, ‘who’s hot? who’s not?’ I hope people look at the broader decade I’ve had rather than the last year.”

Johnson spent just over a year at Sunderland, where he helped the team win the Papa John’s Trophy in 2021. He was then sacked by the Black Cats following a 6-0 defeat at Bolton the following year, before the club won promotion from League One under Alex Neil.

“I wouldn’t change my experience at Sunderland for the world,” Johnson added. “My regret was that I didn’t get to see through what would have been a promotion-winning team, but I was delighted when Alex Neil did achieve that. I love Sunderland, the fans, their songs, training ground. Everyone in the building was Sunderland through and through.”

When asked what could be next for him, Johnson replied: “What I haven’t been doing this time is chasing the next job. I applied for one – that’s it, I didn’t get it, obviously! There are a lot of opportunities and angles I can take now but there’s many avenues other than management.

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“I have done some advisory work for a family looking to buy a club, just a bit of squad analysis. I have been offered director of football roles in the past and that’s something I’d really enjoy, the strategic side of the game.

“But there’s no doubt coaching is my passion – it’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. The lads, the grass, the wins, the camaraderie… it’s a drug, you can’t describe it. People say, ‘Why do you do it?’. But when you win and build something special, that is amazing, you crave it.”

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