Date: 30th May 2009 at 2:52pm
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And so it begins…..

Despite the lack of a manger, Sunderland have released seven players and confirmed the departure of another four.

Dwight Yorke heads the list of released players. The 38-year-old joins David Connelly, who did not make an appearance for the club this season, Arnau Reira, keepers Nick Colgan and Darren Ward and youngsters Peter Hartley and Niall McArdle.

Also leaving the club are Djibril Cisse, Tal Ben Haim and Callum Davenport, whose loan spells have come to an end, and Michael Chopra will join Cardiff City for £4m when the transfer window reopens.

Whereas the majority of the released players` next moves are unknown, keeper Darren Ward has announced his retirement and intention to move into coaching and Peter Hartley has signed a two-year contract with Hartlepool.

The 35-year-old Ward has amassed 582 appearances during his career, but has been plagued by injury over the last season. Speaking to the club`s official website, Ward said:

I still have a great appetite for football, but unfortunately my body hasn’t, so it’s a no-brainer for me to retire from playing,’

‘I know that if I continue with my playing career, I could do myself long-term damage so sadly it’s time to stop.

‘But I am keen to pass on my experience and am looking to get into coaching.’

 

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