'I know him...' - Exclusive: Kevin Phillips baffled by new Sunderland appointment
Kevin Phillips is baffled Sunderland have appointed Kristjaan Speakman to the role of sporting director.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the Stadium of Light legend revealed that he would rather his former club had appointed ex-Black Cats midfielder Stefan Schwarz.
Sunderland confirmed the appointment of Kristjaan Speakman on Friday after this site revealed 24 hours earlier that the 41-year-old was set to head the club’s recruitment set up.
📰 Sunderland AFC is delighted to announce the appointment of Kristjaan Speakman as the club’s new Sporting Director.
Welcome to Wearside, Kristjaan!
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) December 4, 2020
The former Birmingham City man was closely followed to the Stadium of Light by Lee Johnson and Football Insider understands Speakman played a key role in the new manager’s appointment.
Phillips hoped that Johnson would get the final say on players coming into the club.
“I heard Stefan Schwarz was linked with that role earlier on in the week,” he told Football Insider.
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“He is doing a lot of work around Europe so I think that would have been a good appointment. That would have sat better with me.
“I know Kristjaan from his time at Birmingham when he was an academy coach. I do not know if he has any experience of recruiting for a first team so it is a bit of a surprise for me.
📝 The Head Coach has signed an initial two-and-a-half-year deal on Wearside!
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) December 5, 2020
“I’m trying to work out what the connection is within the club and Birmingham but I cannot see one. It was a surprise to hear his name because I know him and what he did at Birmingham but good luck to him.
“That position is more common now in football and I wonder who will have the final say on player recruitment. I have always said a manager should have the final say on players coming into the club.”