St Mirren number one Craig Samson became the latest addition to Jack Ross’ youthful backroom team this week when he surprisingly retired mid-season to cross the border and rejoin his former manager at Sunderland AFC - agreeing to fill the vacancy left by Jimmy Walker as our new first team goalkeeping coach.
The 34-year-old’s move to Wearside makes him the third member of Jack Ross’ backroom team under the age of forty, joining Assistant Manager James Fowler and First Team coach John Potter, both aged 38, to make up the nucleus of our Scottish manager’s staff.
And with Jack Ross still only 42 there’s a fresh, youthful vibe about the men that are in charge of Sunderland’s first team squad - and it’s somewhat refreshing.
Whereas many would, perhaps rightly, point at a lack of experience, there’s a real reason to be positive about having such a hungry team that is surely eager to learn and give their all in an attempt at finding lasting success.
Unlike our years under David Moyes, Simon Grayson and Chris Coleman, the men in charge of leading our League One promotion charge have fresh eyes, a hunger to prove themselves and - perhaps most importantly - a connection to the modern day footballer.
It’s also their first big opportunity, having only been around the Scottish Championship previously. The jump to a club the size of ours - plus the importance of the rebuild - means Ross and his team’s work will be understandably scrutinised.
Ross and his team don’t have previous; therefore, this is the big chance for them.
It would be fair to say Steward Donald’s push to bring Ross to Sunderland has so far been a masterstroke, with the team sat in the automatic promotion places, three points behind top spot and on a run of eight wins in a row.
It’s all going rather swimmingly - and perhaps this is down to our youthful approach to management.
To say that the rebuild of this Sunderland is an enormous task - with financial restraints and a crippling apathy surrounding the club - is something of an understatement. When you look at the turn around in fortune, character and attitude in a a matter of five months, it’s actually quite astonishing how well Jack Ross and his team have done instilling the togetherness amongst the team and the fan-base.
Stewart Donald, Charlie Methven and Jack Ross have all talked about bringing in the “right characters” to the club and correcting the attitude that surrounded the club for far too long.
In appointing Jack Ross you have to admit that they are delivering on their promises. The club is most definitely coming back to the fans, but by having a young manager with a youthful backroom team, we get to grow into this new era together.
Jack Ross has done a mighty fine job, but he hasn’t been without fault. His formation choice at Burton Albion was perhaps to blame for our first - and only - league defeat of the campaign. But losses are to be expected, and Wearside has been hugely accepting of the process so far as despite a couple of blemishes this campaign, the big picture has shone far brighter.
For the fans, this is a new era with a new outlook.
The carpet has been ripped up, and we are piecing it back together bit by bit - with Jack Ross, James Fowler, John Potter and now Craig Samson we are in good hands. They are learning their trade at a huge football club and seem to be able to connect with a young team who are just as desperate to succeed and impress as the management.
When its comes to the revolution currently going on at the Stadium of Light, fresh blood has done this club the world of wonders.