League One manager on Sunderland interest
Birmingham City were linked with a move for Coventry City manager Mark Robins over the weekend.
Robins had also been linked with a move to Sunderland recently, before Phil Parkinson was appointed, interest that saw the Sky Blues’ boss quickly sign a new deal.
Speaking about Sunderland’s interest in him, Robins says that his previous managerial spell at Coventry ending due to him taking up an unsuccessful spell at Huddersfield Town, was in his thoughts when he decided to reject Stewart Donald’s advances:
I can honestly, unequivocally, say that I’m totally happy here. Totally happy.
I’m invested in the job.
Everyone knows what happened in 2013 when I left, and when I was told about the interest from Sunderland that was something that came into my mind, but also the fact that I love it here and the supporters are brilliant with me.
No regrets from Hysen
Tobias Hysen was only at Sunderland for one season, arriving under Niall Quinn but spending the majority of the year being managed by Roy Keane.
Speaking to Swedish outlet Sportbibeln to discuss the latter, Hysen says Keane was always a tough manager but his high standards meant that he always expected players to give as much as he himself did.
Hysen was often kept out of the Sunderland side by Ross Wallace but when asked by Keane why he thought he was overlooked, the former Swedish international replied that he just was not good enough to earn a place in the side:
He was tough but fair. If someone did not do what he expected, he could tell, he could be angry, but it wasn’t that he frothed at the mouth and threw things.
We lost a game against Preston, and he said to some: “You might as well have been sitting on the bench with me today, because you are not affecting anything. You are not in the match, you might as well sit next to me”.
Often he was right, but it could be a bit tough ... we were all Championship players after all.
I was one of the players who didn’t run around whining. I kept my head down and just ran, I didn’t want to argue with him. He said it as it was and would ask me, “Don’t you wonder why you don’t play?”. Then I just said, “No, I’m not good enough, but please come and say if it’s something I should practice”.
Then there were matches where he complained about me, just as he did with everyone. But he was one of those players himself, who gave 100 percent, and expected the same from us.
Despite not being a regular in that Championship winning season, Hysen has no regrets about the move to Sunderland:
Football-wise, it was all right. I got to play pretty much and we won the championship. It was really a fully approved season, but the whole thing feels like a failure because I went home right away.
But I don’t regret doing it, if I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t be part of it, and I learned a lot about myself as a person. And the fact that I went there led me to come to Blavitt [IFK Gothenburg]. All the decisions bring something with them and it was good for me.
Former trialist still rues Sunderland injury
Kenyan international midfielder David Gateri joined Sunderland on trial back in 2013, as the then 18-year-old attempted to earn a deal with the club.
Unfortunately for the player, the rigorous training he was put through whilst with the club exacerbated a groin injury he had and meant that no move was forthcoming.
Gateri was speaking about his experiences at the Academy of Light to Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation. The player, who currently turns out for Kenyan outfit Nairobi City Stars, revealed that Sunderland’s plan for him was to send him out on loan to a Scandanavian league to gain experience before injury struck:
There was interest from Sunderland, (Portuguese club) Braga, and another club in Spain but the academy (African Soccer Development School) was not interested in the latter two since they could not match their offer. But after the Calabar game, Sunderland showed keen interest.
I was advised to do light training after the Nigeria game so that I could give my groin time to recover. There was no way I could postpone the trials because such opportunities come once in a lifetime. When I got to Sunderland the intensity was higher than I expected and my groin could not cope.
It was the lowest moment in my life, I remember I didn’t sleep that night. I asked myself many questions: “Why now? When things looked like they were opening up for me?
The feedback was positive from the Sunderland coaches. I started with the Under-18 team then moved to the reserve (Under-23) team and everybody was impressed.
The arrangement was that Sunderland would sign me then send me on loan to a Scandinavian league to gain experience of playing in Europe, then take me back. But then I tore my groin, the physiotherapists said it was going to take long to heal and I couldn’t complete my trial. I had to leave.