Sunderland AFC news: Black Cats bosses 'working hard' to repair calls made under Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven

Sunderland’s chief operating officer Steve Davison has admitted the club is “working hard” to repair historic decisions made regarding Sunderland’s academy.

Under Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven, the Academy of Light retained its Category One status. However, several exciting young starlets were allowed to depart on Madrox’s watch.

Luca Stephenson, Joe Hugill, Sam Greenwood, Bali Mumba, Francis Okoronkwo and Logan Pye all moved to various clubs higher up the food chain. The mass exodus didn’t sit well with supporters with many fans feeling the club’s academy was heading in the wrong direction.

However, Kristjaan Speakman – who was appointed by Sunderland’s current chairman and majority shareholder Kyril Louis-Dreyfus – and CEO Davison recently spoke to the Red and White Army fan group, with the minutes from the meeting making for interesting reading on everything from Sunderland Women to the Academy of Light.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 09: A General view of the Stadium of Light prior to the Sky Bet League One match between Sunderland and Northampton Town at Stadium of Light on May 09, 2021 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

“The composition of the Women’s squad for next season was confirmed early; Melanie Reay is now full-time. Alex Clark knows there is work to be done but KS (Kristjaan Speakman) is pleased with progress,” the minutes read regarding Sunderland Women.

“When asked by PA (Paul Andrew) if things were going in the right direction, KS said an aligned strategy and vision helps, as does better resourcing. KS is proud of work that has been done, acknowledging the team effort throughout the club, but knows there is still a lot of work to do.

“The club are committed to retaining academy players and will work hard to achieve this. These players must be shown that there is a pathway to the first team. KS believes the club is in a good place; young players are being given the chance to be involved with the first team.

“SD (Steve Davison) said the club working hard to compensate the loss of several academy players 3-5 years ago.

"DR (Dave Rose) asked if the alignment and progress was a benefit of changes in ownership. Dealing with less people is always easier, KS believes that clarity in the vision helps, as well.

“When a club adopts a strategy that is different to most other clubs, owners can question progress in the beginning. SD believes clear progression has been seen, the squad is worth more than it was and will build on the success achieved so far.”

Representatives from the Red and White Army also spoke to the club regarding their goals for this season in the Championship and beyond as Sunderland look to re-build.

“JB (Jamie Bogle) asked what success would look like next season. The heart says promotion, but KS believes we must take a balanced approach after four years in League One. Next season, consolidation and adaptation to the

“Championship will be important as the squad has limited experience at that level. Small margins will be important and as well as reflecting on progress throughout the season both on and off the pitch. The players and Head Coach are looking forward to next season.

"KS believes it will be good to keep the positive vibe between players and fans going.”