SUNDERLAND'S search for a new manager has potentially taken a new twist with Will Still leaving Reims with immediate effect.

The Belgian-born English coach was on Sunderland's radar after Tony Mowbray's exit back in December.

At that stage, it didn't progress any further than initial talks with the 31-year-old's representatives, however Still - who has made clear his desire to manage in England - is now a free agent after his Reims exit was confirmed on Thursday morning.

SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE: Win a pair of Sunderland season tickets in the Black Cats Bar

A club statement said: "Following a meeting held this morning between president Jean-Pierre Caillot, general manager Mathieu Lacour and Head Coach Will Still, it was mutually agreed that the two parties would not continue the sporting adventure together next season.

"In view of this decision and in order to allow Stade de Reims to look forward to the next financial year, it has also been decided that Will Still and his assistant Nicolas Still will step down from their respective duties as of today."

Still said: "I will be eternally grateful to Stade de Reims and all the people involved in one way or another with the club. In particular, I would like to thank all the players I have been able to work with, all the technical, performance, analytical and medical staff as well as the stewards, but also and above all all the supporters of this great club."


Sunderland are hoping to act swiftly in the coming weeks to appoint a permanent head coach to ensure there's no uncertainty throughout the summer.

It's not clear at this stage whether Still will look to go straight into another job or want a rest, but Sunderland are likely to want to gauge the feelings of the highly-rated young coach.

Earlier this year, Still said: “I would work for a Championship team without a problem. What I’ve now understood, I’ve now realised, is how important people are. And how important finding the right place to be is going to be for my career. And people who understand the way I work, because I’m a bit different. I’m a bit odd sometimes.

“But if there’s a Championship club that’s ambitious, that wants to work in the right way and be open and honest about things, and really try and push to get somewhere, then I would love to do that."

Reims are currently 11th - which is where they finished last season - in Ligue 1 with three games to play, however they're winless in four and have won just one of their last eight. They were thumped 4-1 at bottom club Clermont at the weekend.