Sunderland make boardroom decision following Newcastle United FA Cup own goal

Steve Davison arrived at Sunderland during the Covid-19 pandemic at will leave the club at the end of the season
Sunderland faced an intense public backlash ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby in JanuarySunderland faced an intense public backlash ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby in January
Sunderland faced an intense public backlash ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby in January

Sunderland have confirmed chief operating officer Steve Davison will step down at the end of the season.

The decision comes just months after intense public outrage ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby in January. Sunderland fans were incensed as the Black Cats bar, a luxury suite inside the Stadium of Light, was kitted out in Newcastle United colours.

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Toon fans were given a bumper 6,000-strong capacity for the derby and, while losing 3-0, the biggest disaster for Sunderland came off the pitch. An embarrassing club statement issued a U-turn but the damage was already done - and caused division between Black Cats fans and the board.

Sunderland will now part company with Davison - appointed during the Covid-19 pandemic - this summer. The lifelong fan has been responsible for overseeing business and non-football-related affairs.

Owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus paid tribute to Davison for his efforts when confirming the departure. A statement read: “On behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, I would like to thank Steve for his commitment and dedication throughout the past three years.

"Integrity and professionalism have been at the forefront of his leadership and although we have collectively faced challenges along the way, his contribution ensures that he departs with the Club ready to progress to the next level. Steve and his family will always be welcome at the Stadium of Light and we wish him well in the next chapter of his career."

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Davison, whose highlights include attracting England women and the women’s Rugby World Cup to Wearside, added: "I joined the club to implement a long-term project to take SAFC from League One back to the Premier League.

“I am pleased to leave the club in a much stronger position than when I joined. I wish to thank the Club staff for their support and wish them every success in the future and I look forward to once again following SAFC as a fan from next season."

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