Vito Mannone: We know jobs are on the line if Sunderland are relegated

Vito Mannone. Picture by FRANK REID
Vito Mannone. Picture by FRANK REID
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Vito Mannone insists that Sunderland’s players are well aware of the financial repercussions on the whole club if the Black Cats are relegated.

In each of the last three seasons, Sunderland have managed to avoid the drop by a whisker, yet are running out of time to perform that feat again this time around, with Sam Allardyce’s third-bottom men four points adrift of safety heading into their final seven games.

I don’t want anyone to lose their job so I know how important this is for this club and for everyone who works here

Vito Mannone

Goalkeeper Mannone – who arrived at the Stadium of Light in the summer of 2014 – is well-versed in Sunderland’s struggles to remain in the Premier League and is desperate for supporters to be “proud” of the club by avoiding the drop yet again.

But the former Arsenal keeper also grasps the reality of life in the Championship, with the inevitable cuts that would occur to the non-playing staff.

“Anyone who is intelligent will understand that going into the Championship will mean there might have to be some cuts at the club,” said Mannone.

“I love this club, and for my career and, for everyone involved in the club, it is vital we come out of this.

“I mean that for everyone. From the office, from the training ground, from the stadium – everyone.

“I don’t want anyone to lose their job, so I know how important this is for this club and for everyone who works here.

“I hope that people see how much the club and city mean to me.

“I think, as a player, you always need to show your passion and how much you care.

“Each fan would like for us to stay up and be in the Premier League so that, next year, they can come and be proud of this shirt and this club.

“You need to take that into consideration when you go onto the pitch.”

If Sunderland are relegated, then there are compulsory 40 per cent wage reductions built into the contracts of ALL first-team players, which is not the case at neighbours Newcastle United.

But it is the futures of others, rather than his own, which has Mannone feeling a weight of responsibility after a humble background in his native Italy.

“I care about each individual that might lose their job. That makes it even more important to survive,” said the 28-year-old.

“I know about how hard life can be. I come from a family where my father had to do two jobs and my mother has always worked as well.

“They had to do that so we could be a family.

“I have been in that position, so I am not the kind of player who thinks only about himself.

“When I go on the pitch, I feel as though I have a bigger responsibility.

“We are human and we make mistakes, everyone does.

“But, at the end of the day, if you put all of your effort into your job, you try to do it for everybody.”

Mannone smiles when asked if he’d like to be at an established Premier League club, freed from annual relegation worries, but concedes that Sunderland are doing “something wrong” to be constantly involved in the battle against the drop.

“It would be nice to be in a position where we did not have anything to worry about, but it is all down to a few things – the preparation of the club from top to bottom and the way you go into the season,” he added.

“Sometimes, it happens that you can have a season like this.

“But we surely must have done something wrong to be in this position again after the last few years.”