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Ex-Chelsea chief scout appointed Sunderland sporting director

Lee Congerton, who spent six years as Chelsea's head of scouting under Mourinho, Ancelotti, and AVB, joins Sunderland as sporting director.

Paul Thomas

Slowly but surely, Jose Mourinho's coaching tree is taking over the Premier League.  While both Steve Clarke and Andre Villas-Boas are currently jobless, Brendan Rodgers is making a case for Manager of the Year up in Liverpool.  Meanwhile, Chelsea hero Gus Poyet is threatening a minor miracle in Sunderland who have now rewarded him by appointing ex-Chelsea chief scout Lee Congerton as their sporting director.

Congerton, who started coaching at Wrexham FC after never quite making it as a player, joined Mourinho's staff at Chelsea in 2005.  For the next six years, he was part of the back-room staff alongside technical director Frank Arnesen, academy director Neil Bath, and reserves manager Brendan Rodgers who acquired and nurtured the development of the first generation of youth talent in the new Abramovich era.

While the prospects from those days - with the exception of Nemanja Matic in a rather roundabout fashion - never quite made it at Chelsea proper, many have gone on to promising careers.  Current Sunderland players Fabio Borini, Liam Bridcutt, and Billy Knot were just three of the talented, but not quite world class collection of young players.

The now 40-year-old Congerton heads to Wearside from Hamburg, where he joined in the wake of AVB's sacking from Chelsea.  At Hamburg, he reunited with Arnesen who had arrived a year earlier.  Together, they helped HSV survive in the Bundesliga by relying on their Chelsea connections to bring in four young players (Jacopo Sala, Gokhan Tore, Michael Mancienne, Slobodan Rajkovic) and loan a fifth (Jeffrey Bruma).

It's not unfathomable to think that Congerton would continue to maintain similarly friendly relations with Chelsea.  Which is good, because we can't just keep sending everybody to Vitesse.

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