Who is Kristjaan Speakman? Key technical director role at Sunderland set to be filled

Kristjaan Speakman is set to be appointed technical director at Sunderland – but what do we know about him?

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 12:52 pm

The search for Phil Parkinson's successor is looking for a candidate comfortable working as a 'head coach' to fit in with what looks to be a significant rebuild of the club's structure, with the new technical director role created.

But what do we know about about the man who is being tipped for the new job? Here, we take a look…

What experience does Speakman have?

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SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: A general view of the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on February 2, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The 41-year-old enjoyed a long stint at Championship club Birmingham City, joining back in 2006.

After initially working as part of the Blues’ coaching set-up, Speakman was promoted to the key role of academy manager in January 2011.

Speakman joined Birmingham City from Derby County, where he enjoyed a stint as an academy coach at the age of just 19-years-old.

What qualifications does Speakman have?

Speakman has completed his UEFA Pro Licence, the UEFA ‘A’ Coaching Licence and the FA Advanced Youth Award.

He also has a Business Management degree from the University of Derby and a Certificate in Education.

So what did Speakman actually do at Birmingham City?

Speakman led the strategic direction of Birmingham City’s academy and the delivery of coaching.

Part of his role included Speakman leading an academy management team with a view to improving general youth development.

During his time at Birmingham City, Speakman oversaw the recruitment and development of no less than 18 academy graduates, who went on to play for the club's first team.

And that could be music to Sunderland supporters ears given criticism following several high-profile departures and subsequent underachievement of the club’s youth teams.

Has he overseen the development of many well-known players?

In that department, Speakman has done rather well.

Under his guidance, Birmingham City’s academy has produced many well-known players across English football.

Leicester City’s Demarai Gray and Southampton star Nathan Redmond both came through during Speakman’s time, alongside Dortmund and England youngster Jude Bellingham.

What would Speakman do as technical director?

The role of technical director would likely differ from his more academy focused job at Birmingham City, with Speakman working above Sunderland’s new head coach, whoever that may be.

That could involve co-ordinating player recruitment and scouting, though the exact nature of the role is yet to be publicly confirmed.

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