According to the Daily Star and some social media rumours, former Sunderland boss Gus Poyet is open to a return to the Black Cats some 20 months after he was sacked by the currently manager-less club.
With the Stadium of Light hotseat having now been vacant for two weeks since Simon Grayson’s dismissal, the lack of any concrete indication on who’s up next may be behind talk of the Uruguayan throwing his hat in the ring, but the prospect is an intriguing one all the same.
Gus Poyet would be open to returning to Sunderland as manager, two-and-a-half years after being fired by the club.— Bolarinwa Olajide (@iambolar) November 14, 2017
Poyet was manager of Sunderland for a year-and-a-half and led the Wearsiders to a Wembley appearance and one of the greatest ever escapes from relegation, before being dismissed in March 2015 following a poor sequence of results.
Unbeaten against the Mags, the former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder oversaw a 2-1 victory over Newcastle in his first home game at the Stadium of Light before leading Sunderland to a famous 3-0 win at St James Park in the return fixture.
Two further 1-0 derby wins the following season cemented his place as lead protagonist in the historical six-in-a-row victories versus the Magpies. But it is the 2014 Capital One Cup run which stands out as the highlight of Poyet’s time at the Stadium of Light.
Victories over Southampton and Chelsea in the build up gave way to one of the sweetest nights in recent Sunderland history with that two-legged win over Manchester United - the one which ended with a penalty shootout at Old Trafford to send the Mackems to Wembley.
A 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the final followed, but not before thousands of supporters clad in red-and-white had thronged the streets of London in a weekend-long party.
Poyet’s reign brought with it plenty of lows to match the highs of course. An 8-0 trouncing at Southampton in October 2015 rocked the Black Cats squad, and the now 49-year-old was eventually sacked after a run of just one victory in twelve Premier League games.
The Uruguayan’s transfer record bares little scrutiny either, with wasted millions on the likes of Jack Rodwell, Will Buckley and Liam Bridcutt plus a handful of South Americans who failed to adapt to English football. Santiago Vergini and Ricky Alvarez anyone?
How many of those were recommended by then-Director of Football Lee Congerton and how many were Poyet’s picks is up for debate and the relationship between the two men was increasingly strained.
Since leaving Sunderland, Poyet has had short managerial stints at AEK Athens, Real Betis and latterly in China with Shanghai Shenhu, a position he left in September.
The former Brighton boss has also been linked with the vacant Rangers job in recent weeks but may feel like he has unfinished business at the Stadium of Light.
After his departure, Poyet hinted at there being something wrong at the “core” of Sunderland - a claim hard to dismiss given recent history. He also recently suggested that the Black Cats were “doomed” to relegation from the Premier League at some point and that David Moyes had simply been the “unlucky one” to oversee it.
Given the options on offer, would you take Gus Poyet back at Sunderland?
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