Dear Roker Report,
Chris Coleman is as good a manager as we could hope to get, considering the circumstances the club finds itself in, but we need to temper expectations and give him and our forlorn team some backing.
It’s weird and perhaps foolish to look at any news surrounding Sunderland and to react positively, yet when it comes to Chris Coleman there are obvious reasons to feel optimistic.
He’s a coach who had to make do with what he got with Wales and that’s likely what he’ll have to do with Sunderland to a degree.
Wales’ squad is a combination of one World class player (Bale), one very good Premier League midfielder (Ramsey), one solid leader (Ashley Williams, who has declined somewhat since their 2016 success) and a collection of not-quites, no-ways and journeymen.
Sunderland, on the other hand, have a squad filled with dysfunction that lacks leadership and is completely bereft of confidence. While our team clearly needs surgery, with our lack of financial backing Coleman may have to make do with what he’s got - although I pray he can bring in a goalkeeper of some description.
But, optimism comes from the fact that, by all accounts, Coleman is a man capable of motivating - of building a squad of bonded players, pushing for the same goals, who will work for their manager.
The squad of players at his disposal are clearly not world-beaters and quite possibly not even capable of getting promotion. But they should be well clear of relegation to League one based on ability alone.
If Coleman can get them firing, believing in his project, working for him and for each other, then we ought to find ourselves well clear of the relegation zone. Put simply, he is almost exactly the kind of manager we need when resources and support from above are lacking.
Tempering that optimism are a couple of factors.
Firstly, Coleman has little to lose - his stock is high - he was named by FIFA as the best British coach in the world and is well thought of across football.
If he fails at Sunderland, it would be easy to write it off as an impossible job; and it demonstrates to other potential employers that Coleman is a man who isn’t afraid of a challenge and who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Failure at Sunderland is unlikely to stop him being offered a Premier League job, if the right one comes along.
Secondly, Coleman has been here before with Coventry - who were relegated to League One under his stewardship. I’ve seen people say ‘yeah but you have to bear in mind they were a basket case of a club’, as though Sunderland aren’t right now. There are years of experience that separate Coleman’s failure at Coventry from this job and by all accounts he’s a better manager, who will be better equipped to avoid a repeat of what happened at Coventry. Yet, the parallels are worrying enough that I can’t completely write it off.
That all said, Coleman is still something of a coup for this club and I am of the opinion that we fans need to back him and the team from the off.
I live in Spain and haven’t been to a home game since last year’s 0-0 FA cup draw with Burnley, but I can imagine how sh*te it is dragging yourselves to the Stadium of Light every week and being served up dross on a regular basis.
I think fans have every right to be pissed off, to leave their seats and to groan at the horrendous errors they see on a weekly basis, but we heard Grayson talk about how the team can quite easily go from playing positively on the training pitch, to becoming lifeless once they’re at the SoL.
We - the fans - need to play our part, to give the new man the benefit of the doubt and show the lads some support if we ever hope they’re going to turn a corner.
I’d be bad at my job too if thousands of people were constantly telling me how shit I am it, regardless of how well I was being compensated.
Coleman is a cut above some of the other managers we were being linked with and if it's within our power to make his job easier, then we need to do that.
Dear Roker Report,
I’m feeling positive about the appointment of Chris Coleman as our new manager.
For me, the crucial thing for the fans here is to get behind him, trust him and not become negative if something goes wrong in the early days.
I appreciate that we haven’t had much to cheer about in the past 10 years or so, however I’m confident we can turn a new page if we all get behind Coleman.
Personally I don’t think we could have made a better appointment at this stage of the season with who is available. I’m impressed with the way that he’s presented himself after the first interview, which is always a bonus.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and most importantly, always keep the faith!