Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has said that he was "gobsmacked" when he learned that Adam Johnson had decided to plead guilty to two child sex charges last month.
Yesterday Johnson's trial concluded as he was found guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child and cleared of another count, and his former club Sunderland had been tight-lipped for the duration of the trial.
The Black Cats released a statement insisting that they did not know Johnson was planning to change his plea on two of the counts and only kept him on the books so that he could continue to play.
Allardyce has now been asked about the situation and said that his sympathy fully lies with the 15-year-old victim and her family.
"I am hugely disappointed on Adam Johnson and what has happened, but my sympathies don't lie with him, they lie with the victim and the family," he told reporters.
"Adam, as far as I know, was pleading not guilty all the way through from the day I arrived - obviously, this incident had happened well before I got here. On the basis of that information to me that he was pleading not guilty on all charges is why we continued to let him train and play for us.
"We are all, at the football club, stunned and shocked the day before the trial started when we heard a guilty plea come out. I was sat at home when it came on the news and I just was gobsmacked because as far as we were concerned, it was not guilty on all charges."
Sunderland quickly sacked Johnson upon learning of his guilty pleas and the 28-year-old is now facing several years in prison after yesterday's guilty verdict.