Martin Hardy

Martin Hardy is a football reporter at 'The Independent'.

Dark times have followed the rapid rise of Byrne

It was all sunshine and forward-thinking during the 31-year-old Irish lawyer’s early days as Sunderland’s chief executive. But the gloss soon wore off, first with the appointment of  Di Canio as manager and now the Johnson grooming scandal

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Are Newcastle United about to profit from Mike Ashley?

The owner’s decision to put the club on a sound business footing has led to £120m being spent on players. And though the team is in relegation trouble again, there is a feeling the investment could soon pay dividends, writes Martin Hardy