Paul Reid's first words on Sunderland exit and academy tenure - and the 'progress' made during his time in charge

Paul Reid has said that he helped to reduce costs at Sunderland’s academy by over 20% and says ‘progress’ was made in a number of key areas during his time as academy manager.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 8:28 am

Sunderland announced his departure a fortnight ago and Reid has spoken on his exit for the first time on his LinkedIn page.

Supporters have been left concerned about the future of Sunderland’s category one academy, after a bruising year in which neither the U18 or U23 side was able to register a league win.

A raft of talented players have also left the club before signing professional contracts, leaving a lack of depth and a huge rebuilding job to be done this summer.

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Former academy manager Paul Reid

Reid was appointed to the role in the aftermath of Stewart Donald’s takeover, having previously worked as head of recruitment at Eastleigh FC.

In his LinkedIn post, Reid said it had been an ‘incredible’ experience at a ‘complex, yet fantastic football club’.

“Some of my network will be aware that I stepped away from role at Sunderland AFC last week,” Reid wrote.

“You don’t realise the change in yourself but the 2+ years have been an incredible learning experience at a complex, yet fantastic football club.

“I now have a Masters Degree, transferable skills, significant leadership/management experience, staff development templayed and enhanced financial accountability.

“Despite clear and obvious challenges regarding the position of the club, we made progress in a number of key areas:

- We successfully passed the independent PL audit to retain CAT 1 status (after previously being placed in special measures).

- By reassessing and streamlining all our processes we reduced the overall operational costs by 22%.

- Comparative academy productivity rankings by the PL/EFL improved by 48%.

- 100% of first team squads included at least two academy graduates. This is against an EFL average of 68%.

“At a club in a transitional period WE did a lot in a short space of time. Thank you to those that supported me.”

CEO Jim Rodwell recently praised Reid for his work in securing the Category One status earlier this year, and insisted it will be maintained.

He also said that retaining talented players will be a key part of the brief for Reid’s replacement.

Rodwell said: “We know we need to improve, we are absolutely aware of that.

“We need to address some of the things that went wrong last season.

“It is difficult because once we get to the 16 age group, that’s when the City’s and United’s start investing serious money.

“It is difficult to compete but there are things we can do differently.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what the views of the candidates are. We need to have that club vision but I’m interested to see what the candidates’ views are on where we’ve gone wrong and what we need to improve.

"There is a lot of work to be done.

“Keeping the category one status at the most recent audit was impressive and Paul had to work incredibly hard to do it.”