Sunderland sack Johnson over child sex guilty plea
12 February 2016, 08:08
London - Sunderland sacked Adam Johnson on Thursday after the former England winger pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl and one count of grooming.
Johnson, 28, is due to stand trial in Bradford, northern England on Friday on two counts of sexual activity with a child, which he denies.
"In light of Adam Johnson's guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect. The club will make no further comment," a statement on Sunderland's website confirmed.
Just hours earlier, Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce had admitted Johnson, who was reportedly paid £60,000 per week by the Premier League strugglers, would not play in Saturday's match against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light.
Following his arrest in March last year, Sunderland had allowed Johnson to continue his career with the club.
But sports manufacturer Adidas terminated their boot sponsorship with Johnson on Thursday and senior club officials, shocked by the former Manchester City star's guilty plea, have decided to cut all ties with immediate effect.
Johnson, whose girlfriend Stacey Flounders attended the court proceedings with him on Wednesday, had scored just his second goal of the season for Sunderland last weekend in their 2-2 draw at Liverpool.
But his 20th appearance of the season for the Black Cats has proved to be his last for the club he joined from City for £10 million in 2012.
Sunderland-born Johnson was regarded as a potential star for club and country when he joined City from Middlesbrough for £7 million in 2010, but he failed to shine at Eastlands and quickly fell out of favour with England as well.
When then Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill brought him to his hometown club, Johnson initially responded with a period of fine form that earned him an England recall.
However, he couldn't maintain his renaissance and his career gradually spiralled downhill as he fell out of favour with a succession of managers.
Those problem pale in comparison to Johnson's current predicament, with the prospect of a prison term potentially looming as guidelines on sentencing for the grooming offence give a maximum of two years and six months.