Will Still leaves Reims amid Sunderland head coach links

Will Still has stepped down as head coach of Reims with immediate effect, the Ligue 1 side announced, after impressing in the role since he took over in 2022 and becoming one of the hottest young managerial prospects in football today.

The news comes with the Belgium-born coach being consistently linked with the vacant Sunderland job, adding further credence to the possibility of Still being appointed by the Black Cats hierarchy this summer.

Still has been on the radar since the sacking of Tony Mowbray back in December, but the multi-million euro compensation package included in Still’s contract at Reims was one of the main stumbling blocks as to why the deal didn’t materialise for the Englishman.

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However, with the 31-year-old boss now a free agent, this means Sunderland could ramp up their interest for his services as they have been without a permanent head coach since the sacking of Michael Beale in February after just 12 games in charge. Since then, interim boss Mike Dodds has taken charge but is not in contention for the head coach job on a permanent basis heading into next season.

Additonally, Still’s brother and assistant Nicolas will also leave the French top flight outfit.

Still said after his departure: “I will be eternally grateful to Stade de Reims as well as everyone involved directly or indirectly with the club. I would like to thank in particular all the players with whom I was able to work, all the technical, performance, analytical, medical staff as well as the stewards, but also and above all all the supporters of this wonderful club. Our 19-match unbeaten streak last season as well as the spectacular matches at Delaune will remain unique moments for me.”

Reims’ club statement added; “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.”

The coach’s remarkable story from playing Football Manager on his computer as a youngster to going toe-to-toe with the megastars of Paris St Germain has taken another twist. Given he has long registered his interest in managing “a Championship club that’s ambitious, that wants to work in the right way and and really try and push to get somewhere, then I would love to do that.”, his arrival on Wearside is conceivable and would be a great benefit to the French contingent of Pierre Ekwah, Abdoullah Ba, Timothee Pembele and Adil Aouchiche - as well as any further recruits.

Also, the acquisition of one of the highest-rated young coaches in Europe would send a much-needed statement of intent from the Sunderland hierarchy to their supporters and the footballing world as to the direction and ambition of the football club, and allow the Black Cats to attract a higher calibre of player given Still’s ever-growing footballing pedigree.