England winger Adam Johnson was last night sacked by Sunderland after his plea of guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child and one charge of grooming.
Blacks Cats boss Sam Allardyce had earlier confirmed that Johnson would not be involved in the club’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light tomorrow, although the situation quickly escalated.
The 28-year-old’s trial at Bradford Crown Court on two further counts of sexual activity with a child, which Johnson denies, is due to start today and is expected to last two weeks.
“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,” read a Sunderland club statement last night.
Sunderland’s decision to sack Johnson, who they paid £10m for in 2012, came just hours after sportswear manufacturer Adidas terminated their boot sponsorship deal with the Middlesbrough academy graduate.
“Adidas can confirm that it has terminated its contract with Adam Johnson with immediate effect. This follows his guilty pleas entered earlier this week,” read a statement.
Johnson had continued playing for Sunderland while on bail and his last act for the relegation-threatened outfit was to score a free-kick and kickstart a dramatic comeback in a 2-2 draw against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield.
Allardyce said last week that Johnson, who was initially arrested in March 2015, would play throughout his trial, but at the time he believed that the former Manchester City winger would plead not guilty to the four charges.
Johnson faces the prospect of a prison term with guidelines on sentencing giving a maximum sentence of two years and six months for the grooming offence.
The left-footed midfielder, who scored 22 goals in 141 appearances for Sunderland, was once rated as one of the country’s most talented youngsters. He won 12 England caps, scoring twice for the Three Lions, with his last appearance coming in August 2012 against Italy.