Next Sunderland Manager: The Runners & Riders

Mike Hewitt

There's several names buzzing around and in the frame for the Sunderland job at the moment, and here we provide some thoughts on each of them.

The Early Favourites - Do Not Want!

The early favourites group is headed up by Paolo Di Canio, Steve McClaren and Mark Hughes. It's not a particularly inspiring group of managers to be linked to the post, and I don't really want any of them.

Hughes was overlooked the last time the job was available as Martin O'Neill was favoured. It's difficult to imagine that following a year (at least) out of football that Ellis Short will come calling for the former Queens Park Rangers manager any time soon.

Paolo Di Canio is one tho a few people have suggested, and I guess he might be able to 'fire up' the players, but he is still very new to football management and it would represent a huge risk. You'd have to fancy that Short would be more keen on someone who is less hot-headed and has the kind of nous to maneuver us away from the relegation zone.

Everything about Di Canio strikes me as him being no better than Roy Keane was as a manager, unlikely to take instruction well and PDC hasn't garnered the same respect as a player to attract talent to the club.

As for McClaren, thank God that all the local press are reporting that it's unlikely to be the former England manager. This would be perhaps the least inspiring managerial choice going, despite his good record in Holland and knowledge of the overseas market.

All of those early front-runners are no-no's for me.

The Chasers - Packed With Intriguing Options!

The chasing pack comprises itself of several viable and interesting options. Roberto Di Matteo heads the list and he would seem to be a decent enough choice.

Despite questionable spells at West Bromwich Albion and MK Dons, his time at Chelsea still has to be looked upon as a success, and he still carries the cache of the Champions League victory which few other managers do. As far as recruitment goes, he's available and would likely come here. He also seems a pleasant and affable chap who carries respect in the game.

Another former Chelsea star is in the running, and one of my own personal favourites for the job in the form of Brighton Manager Gus Poyet.

Poyet has been tipped for some time to have a long and successful career in management, and his innovative and forward-thinking style would be refreshing for all Sunderland fans.

The question comes though over his availability. Many see Brighton as contenders for promotion to the Premier League, so why would he leave? Well reportedly Reading had agreed compensation so they're happy enough to see him go is the price is right.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is another in this band, but not one who hugely appeals to me. I've read too many reports about is Molde side that while innovative and creative, effectively spent their way to the Norwegian title, in comparison to other teams anyway.

I'd be willing to back Solskjaer if he came, but I wouldn't mind someone with a bit more English league managerial nous.

The Highly Priced Bracket - In The Main, No Thanks!

Anything over about 16/1 is a bit of a crapshoot and not a great deal should be read into it. In there thought there's a range of managers who you instantly think "no way" upon reading their names.

Phil Parkinson, Owen Coyle, Alan Curbishley and Alex McLeish all have Sunderland fans lining up for the Wear Bridge pondering what it would be like to jump. Surely Ellis Short isn't considering anyone in this bracket?

You could also stick the likes of Eddie Howe, Michael Appleton, Paul Jewell and to an extent, Niall Quinn too on that list. Gotta love Niall but we've been there and done that. The same goes for Kevin Ball too who should stick to the excellent job he's doing growing the youth players.

From the higher-priced bunch there's some who appeal kind of, but there's reasons against all of them. Marcelo Bielsa is a name bandied around but I can see him getting better options than Sunderland once his tenure at Athletic Bilbao comes to an end.

Roberto Martinez would be perhaps the ideal candidate but for the fact Wigan are in the exact same spot we are, and with the Latics due their usual end of season revival and just one spot below us, there's not much chance he'll jump from one sinking ship to another.

So this end of the market represents lots of high priced options, but all unlikely for their own reasons.

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