Jim Rodwell was appointed Chief Executive Officer at Sunderland this week, a move which hasn’t been met with a glowing response from Sunderland fans.
The Lincoln-born 49-year-old started out as a junior at his hometown club, but left when they were relegated out of the Football League in 1987 and joined Darlington, where he made one appearance. After a spell knocking around the non-league scene, he found success with Rushden and Diamonds, later playing for Boston United before ending up as Director of Football and later chairman. He once controversially defended Steve Evans after his conviction for tax fraud at York Street.
Once Boston were sold Rodwell moved on, firstly to Notts County as part of the deal that saw Ray Trew take control of the club, then to Scunthorpe United where he’s been most recently.
His spell at Scunthorpe has not been regarded as a success. An interview with Scunthorpe Live journalist Charlie Wilson on Roker Report revealed that he failed in both of the tasks laid out for him by the board.
“I’m quite surprised by the appointment,” said Wilson. “Whilst Jim Rodwell has vast experience of working for football clubs in the lower leagues, working his way from non-league clubs to Notts County before taking the job with Scunthorpe, his success in his respective roles has left a lot to be desired.
“He was brought in to Scunthorpe to do two things: Get them back in the Championship and to build a new stadium. Neither of these things has happened. The fact he’s been given the Sunderland role, to me, is very surprising.”
It must be noted that Scunthorpe Live and the club are not on good terms, which may cloud judgement, but the fact remains that despite being an intelligent man who once came third in a quest to find Britain’s Brainiest Footballer, he hasn’t displayed the credentials that Sunderland fans feel he should have. As a reserved CEO who rarely indulges the press, it could be that work goes on involving him which is not made public or fans are blissfully ignorant of. However, at a club like the Black Cats, that might not be a good approach. Transparency and openness are required as they currently languish at the lowest point in their entire history.
Whilst plenty will be giving Rodwell the benefit of the doubt, others are fearing he may be another of his name that fans are left puzzled and infuriated by. Only time will tell.
Donald’s a clown , so by Association we can assume so is this bloke.
— Andrew Guy (@AndyGuy03) April 25, 2020
Why do we continue to employ individuals with a proven track record of being shit? Please divulge any information why this career failure of a man will improve the club?
— John Ollier (@JohnLOllier) April 25, 2020
Worst possible appointment at the worst possible time
— Jon Place ? (@JonathanPlace1) April 25, 2020
ICYMI?!?! People have been raging about this since the announcement – podcasts, articles, the lot. Possibly the most talked about (non covid) topic on Wearside right now. I'm one of the defending the club and giving the fella a chance, but even I doubt any fans were unaware
— Sunderland AFC Merch (@SafcMerch) April 25, 2020
A generation of supporters will be totally lost. Sad to see, club is in its worst ever state.
— Todd Young (@YoungyCK1) April 25, 2020
State of our club man, absolutely shocking I thought we were meant to be sold in may, Donald is going no where until he gets us up with freebies and loans and that’s never gonna happen, just going to keep on falling!
— ?? (@aidangoodey1995) April 25, 2020
I would’ve whacked a CV in if I’d known track record and experience wasn’t required
— HMcD ? (@Hmcdnl7) April 25, 2020
@_Kieron_Gibson_ bad choice this bud had him at notts ??what a waste of time ?
— Jack (@Hobbsjack11) April 25, 2020