Stuart English has left his position at Birmingham City to join Sunderland’s Academy of Light, after more than five years at St Andrew’s.

The move signifies two clubs on polarising trajectories – Sunderland under new ownership have been quick to make some of the changes that have been long overdue, whilst Birmingham City remain near the foot of the Championship table and with no long-term ambition in sight.

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Blues claimed an important win at Sheffield Wednesday last time out. It could easily have been Aitor Karanka’s final game should his side have lost, but they overcame the 10-men of Sheffield Wednesday to bring themselves out of the drop zone.

Sunderland meanwhile won away at Burton Albion to bring themselves into the top-six, capping off what was a tremendous week for the club.

 

New owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ first moves suggests that the club is taking a new approach in their bid for an eventual return to the Premier League, with much more focus on youth.

Their Academy of Light and Category One Academy status will have been major pull factors for Louis-Dreyfus and he’s already set to work on bolstering those further with the recent academy restructure.

“Lewis Dickman and Leann Cowperthwaite will undertake the respective roles of Academy Manager and Head of Academy Operations, as Stuart English becomes the club’s new Head of Coaching,” safc.com.

Last week as well, Sunderland posted job openings for a Lead Data Scientist and a Head of Analysis and Data. English becomes an initial part of the club’s restructuring under Louis-Dreyfus, and he took to Twitter to share this message last night:

The two former Premier League clubs could yet trade places in time for next season.

Birmingham City’s demise from the Championship has been long in the making and they’d be lucky to survive this season, whereas Sunderland are seemingly out of their dark spell and onto the next chapter.

Two clubs who were once on the same page but have since experienced very different fortunes and have very different futures lined-up.