Lee Johnson: Sunderland appoint former Bristol City boss as head coach

Lee Johnson has won 140, drawn 99 and lost 132 of his 371 games in charge of Oldham, Barnsley and Bristol City
Lee Johnson has won 140, drawn 99 and lost 132 of his 371 games in charge of Oldham, Barnsley and Bristol City

Sunderland have appointed Lee Johnson as their new head coach on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

The Black Cats parted company with Phil Parkinson earlier this week after 13 months in charge, with the club seventh in League One.

Johnson, 39, has been out of work since being sacked by Bristol City in July.

"I can see so much potential and I see it everywhere. I see it in the league and how we can step up," the former Oldham and Barnsley boss said.

"I see it in the facilities, I see it in the community and the passion the people of Sunderland have, and I also see it in the academy.

"The feeling I got from the ownership group [made this the right club for me]. There was other interest, but that doesn't matter now and I want to be successful and to see a brave new Sunderland."

Johnson's appointment comes in the wake of Sunderland appointing Birmingham City academy manager Kristjaan Speakman as the club's new sporting director.

"Speaking to Kristjaan, (chief executive) Jim (Rodwell) and the owners, I was absolutely blown away by their plans and dreams for the club," he added.

Sunderland are in their third season in League One, having gone down to the third tier for a second time in 2018.

They missed out on an immediate return to the Championship when Jack Ross' side were beaten at Wembley by Charlton Athletic in the 2019 play-off final.

They went on to finish seventh last season and, after five games without a win in all competitions, Parkinson's time came to an end in the wake of a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood on Tuesday.

Johnson's managerial record

Taking over at Oldham Athletic at the age of 31, he guided the Latics to League One safety in his first season before leading them 15th the following season, 2013-14.

Oldham were then ninth the following season in February 2015, when he left to join then fellow League One side Barnsley, who were actually seven places lower in the table.

After winning four of his first four games, Barnsley then suffered a winless nine-game run and did not triumph again until the final match of the season. But, after an indifferent start to the 2015-16 season, including a run of seven straight league defeats, the Tykes had turned the corner and were up to 12th on the back of a run of six straight league wins when he quit to take over at Ashton Gate.

Johnson maintained his habit of long streaks - both winning and losing - in his time in Bristol.

During his first full season he set a new club record of eight successive league defeats, but he then guided City to nine wins in a row in 2018-19 and to the Carabao Cup semi-finals in 2017-18, when they beat Manchester United before eventually being edged out over two legs in the semis by Manchester City.

City achieved a higher finishing position under him each season (18th in 2016, 17th in 20-17, 12th in 2018, 8th in 2019) until his final campaign in charge when they fell away from being genuine promotion hopefuls to come 12th, winning just two of their last 24 games.

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