Sunderland terminate contract of Adam Johnson after guilty pleas
Sunderland have terminated the contract of midfielder Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl at the start of his trial.
The 28-year-old former England winger's case is due to continue at Bradford Crown Court on Friday, two days after he admitted two charges but denied two further counts of sexual activity with a child.
A club statement said: "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."
After initially suspending him following his arrest in March last year, Sunderland allowed their £10 million signing from Manchester City to resume his career. He made 19 league appearances this season, scoring twice, including in last Saturday's draw against Liverpool.
Thursday's news came just hours after boot sponsor adidas announced that they had terminated their contract with Johnson in a brief statement.
An Adidas spokesman said: "We've terminated Adam Johnson's contract with immediate effect following his guilty plea on Wednesday. We've issued letters and verbally confirmed that with his management."
Black Cats boss Sam Allardyce had earlier confirmed that Johnson would not be involved in the squad for Saturday's Premier League clash with Manchester United.
Sunderland-born Johnson emerged from the academy set-up at Middlesbrough as a teenager, winning a £7m move to City in February 2010.
However, he lasted just two-and-a-half years in the blue half of Manchester as he found himself surplus to requirements, and then Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill felt he had staged something of a coup in luring him back to Wearside with a £10m bid during the summer of 2012.
The winger's early form for the Black Cats saw him return to the England squad, although he has found the going tougher in recent years.
In all, he made 141 appearances for the club, 29 of them as a substitute, and scored 22 goals, the last of them his side's first in a 2-2 league draw at Liverpool on Saturday.