SUNDERLAND have announced the departure of controversial academy manager Paul Reid.

Reid, who has spent two years in charge at the Academy of Light, leaves his position with immediate effect.

He has helped Sunderland's academy retain its category one status despite the club's relegation to League One.

However, he has proved increasingly unpopular amongst the club's fanbase, with a succession of talented youngsters having left Sunderland without having featured in the first team.

Up to a dozen prospects have left Wearside in the last couple of years, with the exodus set to continue in the next few days when Bali Mumba completes an anticipated move to Norwich City.

Reid's exit will increase speculation that Sunderland are set to abandon theri category one status at academy level, although suggestions that such a move could be imminent have always been rejected but the Black Cats hierarchy.

A Sunderland statement said: "Sunderland AFC can today confirm that Paul Reid has left his position as academy manager with immediate effect.

"The club would like to place on record its thanks to Paul for his service throughout what has been a challenging two years for the club’s academy, including helping to ensure its category one status was retained.

"All at SAFC would like to wish Paul the very best for the future."