Assistant coach Jamie Chandler

Sunderland Scholars assistant Jamie Chandler has been talking to Sportsbyte about his 2016/17 season playing and coaching.

The midfielder has been working alongside Martin Jones leading the Sunderland Scholars – a programme set up to help develop young footballers and give them an education alongside learning more about the game.

Although the decision wasn’t an easy one to make at the time, Chandler has no regrets. He told Sportsbyte: “I was still playing professionally at the time and it was a tough decision to make, but I’m so glad I’ve grasped it with both hands.

“Doing this and playing alongside has been fantastic.

“It’s been brilliant. Obviously it’s been a massive transition going from full time pro to the real world and it was a bit of a change.”

The 28-year old also spoke of the joy he has had on and off the field this year: “Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to have a little boy who keeps me on my toes and on the footballing side, to go to Spennymoor and achieve what we have this year was massive because I think there was a lot of pressure on us at the start of the season.”

Chandler, who has had spells at Darlington and Gateshead, signed for Spennymoor in 2016, winning the league with them this year.

“We went in there as professionals and the expectations were high but thankfully we delivered on the last day and got the promotion, which is great.

“All my focus now is to get this over the line – get the cup win and the league wrapped up – because all the hard work that not only us, but everyone on the programme, and of course the boys, have put in thoroughly deserves to get the rewards.”

The Scholars face Albion in the Community at the Stadium of light in the FA Cup National Football Youth Trophy final on May 24.