Sunderland players' plane forced to divert to Manchester

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Sunderland and new manager David Moyes had to make an unscheduled diversion today as they jetted off to continue their pre-season preparations.

The Eastern Airways flight carrying the Sunderland AFC players, backroom staff and club officials were forced to land at Manchester Airport .

They were on a plane from Newcastle to Geneva when the pilots noticed a warning light.

The aircraft turned round between Stafford and Derby and diverted to Manchester.

A spokeswoman for Manchester Airport said the flight landed safely on the runway just after 11.20am today.

They said: “It was a flight carrying the Sunderland football team.

“They had set off from Newcastle earlier and the aircraft was showing a technical failure, so it was diverted to Manchester as a precaution.

“It landed safely and all passengers disembarked while safety checks were made.”

A Sunderland AFC spokeswoman confimed: "There was a technical fault with the plane and we were diverted to Manchester.

"We have to wait for a new aircraft, but it's just a minor delay and hopefully we'll be in France soon."

The Sunderland party was spotted by holidaymakers waiting at the airport.

Sam Hands tweeted: "Eating my lunch @ Manchester airport... Look up and there is@JackRodwell and co. enjoying a coffee. #SAFC."

Sunderland are due to play FC Stade Nyonnais tomorrow as part of a three-game mini-tour.

They then face Dijon FCO on Wednesday, and the tour is capped off with a fixture against Montpellier HSC on Saturday.