Aiden McGeady apologised twice for things he didn’t do in bid to rescue Sunderland career

Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady has revealed that he knew 10 days into Phil Parkinson’s Sunderland tenure that he wasn’t the man for the job.

Phil Parkinson took over at the Stadium of Light last October and it wasn’t long after that when Aiden McGeady discovered that he wasn’t in the new manager’s plans.

Despite being one of the more senior players in the changing room and one of the most accomplished players in League One, McGeady was banished from the Sunderland first team and was forced to go on loan in January in pursuit of playing time.

“To be honest I kind of thought I would outlast Parkinson anyway so that’s why I did hang about,” McGeady said on the #SAFCUnfiltered podcast.

McGeady recalled his experience with Parkinson, who was sacked last month, and insisted there was no big blow-out that led to his exclusion from the Black Cats first team.

McGeady was made to train with the club’s U23 side and was left without a squad number at the beginning of this season. The Republic of Ireland international approached Parkinson to ask why he didn’t want him involved with the first team.

McGeady explained: “He just said ‘I feel you’re too negative for the group.’

“I was like ‘Gaffer we’ve won two out of 15 mate. Forgive me for not jumping through hoops here but there’s obviously a problem. What have I done?’ He couldn’t give me any specific examples and he couldn’t give me any moments. I was like ‘what is this all about?’

“He said ‘Listen I’ve made my decision!’ and that was it.

“I was absolutely raging but part of me thought he’ll get the sack soon and I’ll just hang on. Without being too disrespectful after 10 days I knew he wasn’t the man for the job. You make your mind up pretty quickly in football.

“We went from Jack Ross to him. You hear what people say about him and people make jokes about him being old school and that sort of stuff.

“We didn’t play any football. We had no game plan and we hardly trained. It just wasn’t right. I don’t want to go into that too much.

“I thought I’ll outlast him but from that point the team went on a run of games where they went nine or ten unbeaten. I think he almost used me as the scapegoat.

“He was one game away from getting the sack so he used me to deflect and say I was the problem. To be fair he almost did come away smelling of roses because the team went on a good run.

“I’ve had to deal with everything that’s went on in the last year with people saying things about me. People jumping on the back of rumours that have happened or things I’ve allegedly done. There was literally no problem with me and Phil Parkinson. That was the crazy thing that I couldn’t get my head around.”

McGeady revealed that he even apologised to Parkinson for things he didn’t do because the winger couldn’t work out what he’d done to change his status in the Sunderland pecking order so drastically.

The 34-year-old’s apologies fell on deaf ears and despite his best efforts to make things work, he was made to sit on the sidelines for several months.

“I realised for a while I’d never play for him again and I’m quite stubborn – he’s extremely stubborn. I thought I’m going to go in and say sorry for whatever I’ve allegedly done,” McGeady continued.

“So I went in and I’ve apologised to him twice for things I’ve not even done just because I wanted to play.

“I said ‘Gaffer whatever I’ve done – if you want me to do this I’ll do it. If you want me to be a better senior pro, whatever I’m willing to do anything to play.’

“He said ‘Let me have a think about it.’ This happened twice and a week to ten days passed and I hadn’t heard anything from him so I went to see him again.

“I went to see him again and he said ‘Nah you’re still with the U23s.’ Then in the summer the narrative changed – it wasn’t that I was too negative it was because he wanted the young players to come through.

“He mention Embo [Elliot Embleton], Jack Diamond and Dan Neil. That was the first conversation we had in the summer and I wasn’t going to change his mind. So I said ‘look if you need me you know where I’ll be.’

“I’m in the U23s, banished down the other end of the academy. I’ve not even got a number anymore.”

Parkinson and Sunderland parted company at the end of November and McGeady immediately returned to the first team under Lee Johnson.

McGeady has been given a clean slate by the new manager and will likely play a crucial role if Sunderland are to make a run at getting out of League One.

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