Sunderland appoint Michael Beale as manager until summer 2026

Photograph: Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC/Getty Images

Michael Beale said he feels “honoured” to join Sunderland after his appointment on Monday as the Championship club’s new head coach.

It is fair to say that many Sunderland fans have been somewhat underwhelmed by the decision to replace the much-loved Tony Mowbray with the 43-year-old Londoner so Beale could do with hitting the ground running when he presides over his first match in charge against Coventry at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

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“It’s a huge honour to be joining the Sunderland family,” said the former Rangers and QPR manager, who has signed two-and-a-half-year contract. His fifth fixture at the helm will be the Wear-Tyne derby at home against Newcastle in the FA Cup third round next month.

Although Mowbray led Sunderland to the playoff semi-finals last season and built a young and attractive, if inexperienced, attacking team standing seventh in the second tier, tensions had been mounting between the 60-year-old and the club’s owner, Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, since late last season.

Nonetheless it still came as a surprise when Sunderland ended Mowbray’s 15-month tenure this month. Will Still, the 31-year-old Reims manager, had been thought to be Louis-Dreyfus’s preferred candidate but it is believed an impasse was reached concerning the need to pay the Ligue 1 club compensation.

Several alternatives were interviewed but Beale stood out, impressing Louis‑Dreyfus and Kristjaan Speakman, Sunderland’s sporting director. “We have monitored Michael’s career for some time and are delighted to have reached an agreement,” said Speakman, who has promoted Mike Dodds, Mowbray’s interim caretaker successor, to assistant head coach.

“Michael Beale has an excellent and well-founded reputation for developing young players and is an outstanding progressive coach who is aligned with our playing identity and naturally fits well within our structure.”

After impressing Steven Gerrard during a stint as an academy coach at Liverpool, Beale served as the former England midfielder’s first-team coach when Gerrard took charge at Rangers and subsequently followed him to Aston Villa.

He first became a manager in his own right when the Championship side QPR appointed him in June 2022, but he left west London that November in order to return to Ibrox, this time as head coach.

Beale was sacked by Rangers in October this year having made an indifferent start to this season after finishing second in the previous campaign in the Scottish Premiership.

Following a short-lived junior playing career, he began coaching at 21, studying futsal in Brazil before becoming an academy coach at Chelsea and then Liverpool.


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