New chief football officer Simon Wilson will be tasked with helping Sunderland AFC to achieve its full potential.
Wilson will join the Black Cats on January 1, after ending a highly-successful 10-year’s service at Manchester City.
It is a brand new role at the Stadium of Light looking at all areas of football development.
And Martin Bain, the club’s chief executive, says Wilson’s key remit will be to help build the “model” and overall strategy that is best-suited to Sunderland.
During his time at the Etihad, Wilson held the position of director of football services, working across the City Group family of clubs.
Prior to this, he spent four years at Southampton, whose strong academy and transfer policy has helped establish them in the Premier League – a model Bain says is to be “applauded”.
Bain said: “Where I think Simon will add more strength is not his learning in recent years at Manchester City in terms of building out the other clubs, but the part where he was in there with Brian Marwood just in the beginning in the Garry Cook days, where he was probably in a situation like this where he was looking at a club – at that time – that might not have been dissimilar in terms of underachieving.
“And what had to be done there to build a model that ultimately attracted investment.
“That is why I have positioned Simon here and I don’t want him getting caught up in the day-to-day reactive stuff.
“I just want him to think about building the model that is right for this club.
“Hopefully he will go round and do the same as I did and speak to people, he can then be very focused in taking that knowledge and putting it very specifically into football.
“He has a very different role from me. I have a much wider approach.”
Wilson is also re-united with manager David Moyes, having worked with him at the Scot’s first managerial post, at Preston North End.
When asked what sort of model would suit Sunderland, Bain added: “One of the things that Sunderland has in terms of playing to its strengths is this part of the world, the North East.
“You can see it with our fan base. We have a reach where we can recruit from.
“When you have those tentacles that can get right out into the community with a passion and the willingness then I think that is a strength that we have.
“One of the other aspects that we have, which is sometimes under looked, is we have hired a manager in David Moyes that is world renowned and has huge experience in the Premier League.
“A manager like that opens doors, he attracts people and is an asset to Sunderland.
“When you have people like that within the business then you can put things in place.”