Sunderland chief Martin Bain: Why I sold Vito Mannone to Reading

Vito Mannone in action for Reading after he left Sunderland last summer.
Vito Mannone in action for Reading after he left Sunderland last summer.
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Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain has defended his decision to sell goalkeeper Vito Mannone last summer.

Sunderland crashed into League One at the weekend after another disastrous season where performances on the pitch have been among the worst in the club's history.

Bain has faced fierce criticism for his role in the club’s successive relegation, particularly with regards the recruitment of players.

Signings made both last summer and in January have not worked out and in particular, the attempts to replace Jordan Pickford and Vito Mannone have firmly failed, with Robbin Ruiter,

Jason Steele and Lee Camp all dropping numerous clangers which have cost Sunderland dozens of points.

Bain accepted that the club have not got recruitment right but said his cost-cutting measures were vital to keeping the club in operation without owner Ellis Short’s funds.

Mannone was sold in the summer for £2million to Championship rivals Reading, with Bain later claiming it was good business.

He insists now that the club wouldn't have been able to recruit players for the Championship had that deal not gone through, with the money they received for Pickford having gone into servicing the club's debt.

Bain added: "With Vito, let’s leave aside that there was one year left on his contract, that he may have wanted to go. If I hadn’t sold him for £2million I couldn’t have brought in eight or nine players for Simon Grayson. That’s the bottom line.

"I came to this club with a vision but because of the financial side I couldn’t implement that.

"Where it all starts and ends is recruitment and I get the frustration on that side. We’ve not got that right.

"This summer, if the club is not sold, we’re looking at probably 14 players required. At that point I would have to sit down with Ellis and present those facts.

"We have a great manager in Chris, who is the right person, and we have a massive determination to make things right."