clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What a palava that was; Sunderland crackpot manager hunt concludes with plenty reasons to cheer

So Chris Coleman is set to take charge at the Stadium of Light - a man who should arrive with sufficient weight and authority to lead a much-needed fundamental change at Sunderland.

Wales v Republic of Ireland - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Sunderland have pressed the reset button again and a new era is set to dawn upon Wearside with the imminent appointment of Chris Coleman.

This time it’s an international boss arriving with his stock at a career high to take charge at the Stadium of Light, rather than the last man to make the Black Cats job a success who engineered himself an international gig thanks to his exploits here eighteen months ago.

And there are certain parallels to draw between Sam Allardyce and Chris Coleman. Both come with a certain big presence surrounding them and like Big Sam, the new man will surely arrive with his initial demands satiated by a desperate owner and a clear mandate to structure the footballing operation as he sees fit. Welcome Big Chris.

This appointment will be hailed as coup for chief executive Martin Bain, the man who led Sunderland’s up-and-down, all-over-the-place hunt for the club’s sixth manager in four years, but it feels like Ellis Short has had his hand in this one - such is the significance of the outcome.

If Simon Grayson was Bain’s pick - a mild appointment, a supposed steady hand to lead the club through its transition from Premier League to EFL outfit, and an individual who wouldn’t question the limitations placed upon him - then Coleman will arrive as an entirely different beast.

Bury v Sunderland - Carabao Cup First Round
Who’s next? Will Robbie Stockdale and the rest of the Sunderland backroom have any future under Chris Coleman?
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

No, this one feels like Short stepped up and coordinated the final stages which saw the Wales boss plucked from post-World Cup qualification malaise to try his hand at rescuing Sunderland from the brink of disaster.

Something seemed to change in the final desperate stages of the Black Cats hunt for a boss. Supposedly Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom decided against chancing his burgeoning career at the managerial graveyard that is the Stadium of Light.

Unimpressed by the Sunderland representatives who sought him out, the 40-year-old is thought to be have been instantly put off by the prospect he would probably receive little in January to bolster the squad which has won just one league game all season.

Surely Coleman - who could have afforded to sit and take his pick of the club jobs which will present now that sacking season has recommenced with gusto - has not agreed to take charge of the Black Cats without certain assurances over budget and an agreement that he can bring his own team of people to the club with him.

Serbia v Wales  - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier
Surely Chris Coleman will bring a backroom team with him to Sunderland
Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

We all know there has been a steady stream of managers to arrive at Ellis Short’s Sunderland in recent years, only to depart appearing to vaguely mutter about something that was sold to them which bore little relation to reality.

But now that the reputation for such has been aired with regularity, Coleman will surely have performed the due diligence which David Moyes recently claimed he had neglected to do properly on accepting the Black Cats offer to succeed Allardyce in the summer of 2016.

Best of all, this appointment smacks of a Short-Bain hierarchy now fully aware that the “fundamental change” spoken of when Grayson was dismissed simply must become a reality. Coleman will arrive with stock in the bank and a reputation that should enable him to drive through change and start shifting or ditching the dead weights and the losers who haunt the Stadium of Light.

When the announcement is formally made, expect to see another long-term contract handed out to the 47-year-old and him be given authority to bring sufficient allies in with him to take control of the footballing function - academy, recruitment, scouting, performance and various support structures.

Certainly Coleman' assistant at Wales, Kit Symons, departed with his number one so we may see him on Wearside too before long.

So with a little rejigging likely, some loosening of the Bain stranglehold over all departments at Sunderland can only be a good thing. The CEO can concentrate on corporate matters and let an experienced football manager begin to re-engineer the football operation.

And crucially, Coleman will no doubt have been given some indication of the business he can do in January - and that indication must have satisfied him. And that can only be a good thing.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report