Sunderland have today appointed their first chief football officer.
Simon Wilson will join the Black Cats on January 1, after ending a highly-successful 10-year's service at Manchester City.
He is re-united with manager David Moyes, having worked with him at the Scot's first managerial post, at Preston North End.
However, we understand he is NOT a like-for-like replacement for Lee Congerton, who resigned as Sunderland’s sporting director last season following Dick Advocaat's departure as manager.
Wilson will work alongside chief executive Martin Bain and Moyes and look at all areas of football development.
The former Preston, Southampton and Preston man has a brand new position at the Stadium of Light and one where he is expected to look at the bigger picture at the club and work on an overall strategy.
Wilson said: “I am excited by the opportunity to join a club that is embarking on a journey of development and improvement.
"My role will be to ensure that we have the best practices, systems and people in place in order to give the club the best platform to achieve its goals.
“There is a great team of people at the club and I want to galvanise the good work that I know is already being done, in order to ensure that we are doing everything we can to support the manager and chief executive in their aim of building a better football club.
“I worked with David Moyes many years ago at Preston.
"He is a highly-experienced and respected manager and I am looking forward to linking up with him again, and working with the chief executive.
"Both share a common vison on how to take the club forward so we can give the fans and everyone associated with Sunderland a club and a team to be proud of.”
During his time at the Eitihad, Wilson held the position of director of football services, working across the City Group family of clubs. Prior to this, he spent four years at Southampton.
Sunderland hief executive Bain said: “In Simon, we are bringing someone to the club who has highly impressive track record of putting the building blocks in place in order to give clubs the best chance of achieving success.
“Harnessing his knowledge and experience in developing effective football infrastructures at the highest level, will give us a great platform from which to re-define our approach to the fundamental areas of the club such as scouting, recruitment, medical services, player pathways and youth development.
“Simon will play an important part in driving our re-building process, and helping us to achieve our aim of making the football club stronger in the future."