UPDATE: Following news that Adam Johnson has been dropped for the February 13 Premier League game against Manchester United, Sunderland FC´s bosses have since confirmed that the 28-year-old player´s contract has been terminated. The mid-fielder has suffered a further blow since pleading guilty to two charges – a lucrative sponsorship deal with sportswear giants Adidas has been withdrawn.
Sunderland FC bosses have been forced to rethink their decision to play Adam Johnson at the game against Manchester United on Saturday February 13 at the Stadium of Light.
The 28-year-old has pleaded guilty to having sexual relations and grooming a 15-year-old girl. A move that was apparently unexpected by Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, who had previously announced that the winger would be a first team feature throughout the trial, which begins on February 12.
Backtracking on their original intentions and in light of Johnson´s guilty plea, the club have reportedly decided that the former terrace hero will no longer be made available for selection.
After the news broke, fans came out in support of the clubs decision. The secretary of the Coxhoe Supporter´s group, Jim Gilling, told the press “He should not play and the majority of supporters would agree with that”.
Supporters on the group´s Facebook page expressed strong feelings about the fact that Johnson has continued playing since his initial suspension over the allegations, in March 2015.
One wrote: “I do not know if he told the club about his intention to plead guilty beforehand, because he should not have been playing if they did know”.
Johnson´s reinstatement to the team after he was charged in April 2015, is said to have helped Sunderland win their relegation battle last season, however, of the 20 appearances he has made in the current season, Johnson has failed to win a regular starting spot and has only scored twice.
The next ten days in court will reveal the troubled player´s future, on and off the pitch.