The inside track on the search for Paul Reid's replacement after Sunderland's shock departure

Sunderland are on the hunt for a new academy manager following the shock departure of Paul Reid – and Premier League rules will be guiding them on their replacement.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 10:00 am

It was confirmed by the club on Tuesday that Reid would be departing two years after his arrival on Wearside, leaving a critical vacancy for the club to fill.

But what criteria will Sunderland’s new appointment need to satisfy, and what does their job actually entail? We take a look:

What is an academy manager and what do they do?

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Sunderland's Academy of Light training base.

As per the EPPP guidelines, each academy – regardless of their category status – requires a full-time academy manager. Their appointment must be signed-off by the club board and they are expected to report to the chief executive, or equivalent, as part of their role.

Essentially, they are tasked with running the academy on a day-to-day basis and providing a link between the academy, board and first-team management.

According to the Premier League handbook for academies, the academy manager should take on the following roles:

- guiding the development of the club’s playing philosophy, coaching philosophy and coaching curriculum.

- drawing up and implementing the Academy Performance Plan.

- advising the club board on whether the academy has met the performance targets set out in the Academy Performance Plan, and the action to be taken by the club if the academy has not met those performance targets.

- the design, implementation and management of the Academy’s Coaching Curriculum.

- ensuring that all academy staff undertake the continued professional development required of them under the rules.

The academy manager is also expected to line manage a number of other key academy staff – including the head of coaching and the head of education.

What qualifications does the academy manager need?

There are a number of qualifications that Sunderland’s next academy manager will need to possess.

As per the Premier League’s guidelines, each academy must hold:

- an up to date UEFA A Licence

- an FA Youth Award

- an FA Advanced Youth Award

However, an academy manager without these qualifications can be appointed should the club’s head of coaching hold the qualifications. In that case, it will be they who lead the implementation of the coaching curriculum as opposed to the academy manager.

Are there any candidates already in the frame?

While a number of names have been touted by supporters on social media – most notably Kevin Ball – it remains unclear whether Sunderland have a successor for Reid lined-up.

Will Sunderland definitely be appointing an replacement?

The Echo understands that Sunderland do intend to replace Reid – given that the academy manager role is vital to the operation of the academy.

While recent events have left fans to fear for the future of the academy, the Black Cats maintain that they remain committed to running the category at its current category one status.