DIARY: Sunderland FC PROs face relegation to the dole

Relegation from the FA Premiership is set to leave Sunderland FC no choice but to remove players from the wages bill - and the club's powerful PR team is similarly threatened.

Last Saturday, the side's demotion was confirmed after a 2-0 defeat at Birmingham City. This, we learn, effectively triggered the start of a cost-cutting plan as Sunderland prepare to cope with the financial realities of Nationwide League football.

Comms director Lesley Callaghan said: 'We have had to take some tough decisions.'

Callaghan - who heads a six-strong press, PR and new media team - confirmed redundancies were planned throughout the club, adding that a 'consultation process' would dictate which roles were axed.

Callaghan has been the top PRO for eight years, helping handle PR aspects of the move to the Stadium of Light four years ago, and building the PR team from scratch. But in a PR reflection of the club's likely on-field staff cull, all the team-building work of the past few years may be shortly undone.

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