SUNDERLAND have announced that Steve Davison will leave his role as Chief Operating Officer at the club at the end of the 2023-24 Championship campaign.

Having started working for the Black Cats during the Covid-19 pandemic, Davison is credited with helping deliver a number of successful projects at the Stadium of Light, including working with the Sunderland Women team, bringing the Lionesses to Wearside, the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2025 and leading the ongoing modernisation of the club's facilities.

Davison helped the club secure 5G funding that will improve fan experience in the years to come and has overseen the planning of the recent multi-million-pound investment into the stadium, including the upcoming pitch replacement, floodlighting, PA system and safe standing projects.

However, he was also part of the backroom team that was heavily criticised by Sunderland supporters for allowing the controversial rebranding of the Black Cats Bar in Newcastle United colours ahead of January's Wear-Tyne derby in the FA Cup.

The farcical build-up to that game saw fingers pointed at various elements of Sunderland's executive operation, with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman and owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus also coming in for considerable criticism.

That collective criticism has intensified during Sunderland's dramatic slide down the Championship table, which continued on Monday as they crashed to a humiliating 5-1 home defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers.

Sunderland chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus said: “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.”

Davison, who was a boyhood Sunderland supporter, 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.”