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Sunderland manager responds after clip ‘snubbing’ player prompts backlash from fans

Sunderland defender Trai Hume offers his hand to manager Michael Beale, who does not react (X)
Sunderland defender Trai Hume offers his hand to manager Michael Beale, who does not react (X)

Sunderland manager Michael Beale has defended himself after appearing to snub the offer of a handshake from his own defender, Trai Hume.

Hume had been substituted in the 88th minute of their Championship game at Birmingham City, where Sunderland were losing 2-1. As he walked past his manager, Hume reached out a hand but Beale did not react, with his eyes instead fixed on the pitch.

Some Sunderland fans accused Beale of deliberately ignoring his player, and the clip was widely shared on social media. One accompanying post simply read “awful”, and has been ‘liked’ more than 6,000 times on X.

A comment in reply garnered more than a thousand likes which read: “Pathetic excuse of a ‘Manager’. Only in it for his own personal glory, hopefully a sacking follows soon.”

However, Beale insisted he had not noticed Hume walking in his periphery, and said he immediately went to apologise to the player once he had been told about the incident.

“Trai Hume is a fantastic player for our club,” Beale posted on social media. “He gives everything for his teammates and the staff. I wasn’t aware that I missed his handshake until being asked about it post game. I immediately went to see him to apologise.

“Trai passed a fitness test this morning to play the game and I cannot hold him in higher regard as a man or professional. He is an example of everything that is good about a young footballer and our team.”

Beale only joined Sunderland on 18 December, but is already coming under pressure after six defeats in his opening 12 games, including a 3-0 loss at the hands of fierce rivals Newcastle United in the FA Cup. He has earned four wins and two draws in that period, and Sunderland are currently 10th in the Championship table.

Sunderland next play on Saturday when they host struggling Swansea City at the Stadium of Light.