Alex Neil has left Sunderland to become fellow Championship side Stoke’s new manager.

The former Norwich and Preston boss only arrived at the Stadium of Light in February, helping the Black Cats achieve promotion back to the second tier with play-off success at the end of last season.

However, Stoke triggered a buy-out clause in his contract and he has now been confirmed as Michael O’Neil’s successor. He has signed a three-year contract, having watched the 1-0 win at Blackburn on Saturday from the stands.

Sunderland’s statement reads: “Sunderland AFC can confirm that Alex Neil has joined Stoke City with immediate effect.

“The 41-year-old expressed his desire to leave the club on Friday morning despite signing an improved contract at the Stadium of Light earlier this month.

“SAFC made an immediate offer to further significantly enhance Neil’s terms on Friday afternoon, but he declined this proposal to remain on Wearside and reiterated his desire to leave the club.

“He has now finalised a move to the bet365 Stadium and the process to appoint a new head coach is underway.”

Joint Stoke chairman John Coates said: “Alex was our number one choice to become our new manager and I’m delighted we have secured his services so quickly.

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“His managerial pedigree is excellent with three promotions already on his CV and we are looking forward to working closely with him to help him realise the ambitions that he and the club share.”

Neil swaps a Sunderland side 12th in the Championship for 17th Stoke and will hope to drag the Potters back to the Premier League, having been absent from England’s top flight since 2018.


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