Michael Beale sacked as Sunderland head coach after just two months in charge

Michael Beale has been sacked as Sunderland head coach after just two months in the role.

The 43-year-old former QPR and Rangers boss, who replaced Tony Mowbray at the Stadium of Light helm on December 18, has lost his job just 12 games into his reign following successive Sky Bet Championship defeats to Huddersfield and Birmingham.

Sporting director Kristjaan Speakman told the club’s official website: “We are disappointed that Michael is leaving Sunderland AFC.

“Our desire is to improve and unfortunately that hasn’t been evident, as such we take full accountability and feel that acting decisively is in the best interests of the club.

“This has been a difficult few months for Michael, who leaves with our best wishes for the future.”

Assistant Mike Dodds will take charge of the team for the remainder of the season.

Speakman continued: “Our focus is now on the players and supporting Mike Dodds in the remaining games to ensure we achieve the highest possible league finish. We will be updating our supporters further as and when significant developments are made.”

Beale, who worked under Steven Gerrard as he guided Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title in 2021, walked into something of a storm on Wearside as fans disappointed by Mowbray’s departure and less than enamoured with his replacement vented their frustrations.

His suggestion that he was not liked by the supporters because he was a cockney did little to calm the waters, and results on the pitch did not help him either.

Michael Beale
Michael Beale was in charge for only 12 games (Richard Sellers/PA)

Beale courted further criticism at the weekend when he appeared to snub substitute Trai Hume’s handshake as he left the pitch at St Andrew’s, but later apologised and insisted he had not been aware he had done so.

Sunderland currently sit 10th in the table, four points adrift of the play-off places with 13 games remaining.

They reached the semi-finals under Mowbray last season after finishing sixth in their first season back in the second tier, eventually going down 3-2 on aggregate to Luton, who beat Coventry on penalties in the final to reach the top flight.

Chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus now faces the task of identifying the fourth new manager since he inherited Lee Johnson when he bought into the club in 2021 having replaced the incumbent with Alex Neil, who left for Stoke in the wake of promotion and opened the door for Mowbray.

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