100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
Get all your news in one place
Latest Sport news:
Dominic Calvert-Lewin reveals ‘talking saved my life’ as Everton striker opens up on mental health struggles
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has revealed the mental health struggles he has been dealing with this season as he urged those in…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Qatar World Cup Audience Projected at 5 Bln, Says FIFA Boss
The 2022 World Cup hosted by Qatar is expected to be watched by 5 billion people around the world, FIFA…
French Open: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic motor into second round with dominant straight-sets wins
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic wasted no time in getting their French Open campaigns off to the perfect start as…
Turning despair into action for female athletes
After a decade of research, advocacy and outreach for female athlete health by NZ experts, why are sports organisations not listening and…
Celtics-Heat Takes Another Turn—This Time, Maybe for Good?
Boston added yet another blowout to a series full of them, and Miami looks battered and broken down. But it’s…
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
DJR Mustang for Bathurst 1000 wildcard
There is set to be a third wildcard in the 2022 Bathurst 1000 field with a team working closely alongside…
Kevin De Bruyne commits future to Manchester City after latest Premier League title
Kevin De Bruyne pledged his future to Manchester City after helping the club secure a fourth Premier League title in…

Lee Johnson sends Sunderland a good luck message ahead of their play-off final clash with Wycombe

By James Hunter

Lee Johnson has sent a good luck message to Sunderland ahead of next week's League One play-off final - and says he will be rooting for his former charges as they look to seal promotion the Championship. Johnson was sacked by the Black Cats in January despite the club sitting third in the table and just two points behind then-leaders Rotherham - albeit Sunderland had played more games than their rivals - with a 6-0 defeat at Bolton that left the Wearsiders with just one win in five games proving the final straw.

He was succeeded by Alex Neil who halted the slide and led the club to a fifth-placed finish, and now to a Wembley clash with Wycombe Wanderers a week on Saturday. Johnson was in charge last March as Sunderland ended their 48-year wait for a win at the national stadium, as they lifted the EFL Trophy.

And the 40-year-old insists he has no regrets following his spell at Sunderland and is full of praise for both the club and its fans, and he hopes Neil can be the man to get them out of the third tier - 12 months after his own bid to do that foundered with a play-off semi-final aggregate defeat against Lincoln City.

"I loved it," Johnson told Sky Sports of his time in charge. "I feel very privileged to have had the honour of coaching what I see as an iconic club in the country, an absolutely fantastic football club with great people, a fan base which is phenomenal.

READ MORE: Sunderland at Wembley: An 11-act tale of footballing triumph and tragedy

"They are churning out 34,000 in League One on a regular basis. I think in general terms we did an excellent job, there were a lot of successes in that period and I wish them all the best and am rooting for them to get promotion this year."

Johnson took over at Sunderland in December 2020, with his arrival sanctioned by incoming chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus who was in the process of becoming the club's single biggest shareholder. Asked about his reaction to his sacking almost 15 months later, Johnson said: "I think they [emotions] are all in there, you know you’re human.

"You have to heal because effectively you have given everything if you like in that period of time. A football club and a manager's relationship is almost like a marriage and sometimes it breaks up.

"On this occasion genuinely I can look at myself in the mirror and say I have very few regrets in terms of where the club was and where the club is now. I think it's in a really good space, a really good place and I think primed for success."

Johnson has yet to go back into management after leaving the Stadium of Light, but in recent days he has been heavily linked with the vacancy at Scottish Premiership side Hibernian.

"I think the first thing is investing a little bit of emotional capital back into the family," said Johnson of his spell out of work. "It's so all consuming the manager's job.

"I've got a daughter who is approaching 14 years old and I've been away for effectively 15 months, 7am until 11pm pushing it hard. The first thing is getting that balance to make sure that the family have adequate time with you, but also when it's in you, you can't stop that thirst for knowledge. There will be areas of your performances that you want to maybe reflect on, review and focus in on."

For the latest Sunderland news direct to your inbox, go here to sign up to our free newsletter

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.