Sunderland's CEO responds to concerns over academy status and discusses replacing Paul Reid
Jim Rodwell says that the club are committed to retaining to the academy's Category One status, both in the short and long term.
Rodwell also said that putting a stop to the departures of talented players would be a key part of the remit for Paul Reid's replacement.
Reid's departure was confirmed on Tuesday, with many concerned that he may not be replaced and that the news could signal a reduction in the ownership's commitment.
The club's U18 and U23 side suffered wretched league seasons, unable to win a game as the impact of a number of players leaving around the age of 16 began to take hold.
Sunderland have also sanctioned the sale of Bali Mumba, one of the few to commit to professional terms, to Norwich City.
"We are absolutely committed to the academy and our category one status," Rodwell said.
"Having a category one academy in League One is difficult but that is what we are committed
"Next season we will be a Category One academy, simple as that, and we are committed beyond that as well.
"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.
"Paul has things he wants to do in his career, we had a conversation and it was all amicable," he added.
"Everything was mutually agreed.
"We’ll now run a process as per the regulation, we’ll do that quickly and we’ll make an appointment to take us forward.
"We wish Paul well."
Rodwell conceded there was a huge amount of work to be done this summer, with the U18 and U23 sides in need of a major rebuild.
18 players have been released from those age groups, and while Brandon Taylor and Benji Kimpioka were offered extensions, they have not yet committed their futures to the club.
The pathway to the first team has been significantly affected by the departures since Madrox took charge of, amongst others: Logan Pye, Morten Spencer, Luca Stephenson and Sam Greenwood.
Joe Hugill is in the process of joining Pye at Manchester United and Mumba will mean the U23 group loses it's most high-profile player.
Rodwell said he was not directly involved in the Mumba deal with the clubs having been in talks for a significant period, but said it reflected the challenge of convincing players to commit their long-term future.
Mumba has a year left on his current deal.
"Part of the remit for the new academy manager will be exactly that.
"We’ve got to do more to try and keep hold of these guys.
"It is difficult but there are things I think we can do."