Who should be at the top of our wanted list if Phil Parkinson was replaced as Sunderland manager?
Jack Gingell-Howe says...
I think Kevin Phillips would be a good shout. Experience can be overrated, and he would certainly bring a star factor for the fans.
He’s done well in his coaching career, with Jamie Vardy amongst his supporters, and this could be a great opportunity for him.
His profile would lift us and at the very least, he might be able to teach some of our lads where the back of the net is.
The other candidate is at the other end of the spectrum - Neil Warnock. His career is winding down, though he is vastly experienced.
He has spoken recently about his regret in turning down Sunderland, and I feel his ability to turn around clubs in a slump would be excellent.
He’s worked for others clubs with tumultuous boardrooms, and managed some good things. He also knows his way around promotions, which is never a bad thing.
I doubt we’ll get either, and probably end with some no-hoper... but I can always dream.
Malcolm Dugdale says...
I agree with Jack on this one. The pièce de résistance would be Neil Warnock as head coach and Kevin Phillips as assistant, in my view.
An old head who tells it how it is and has real pedigree at taking teams up, supported by one of the few non-mackems who understand what the club means to the area and the people, who hopefully can inspire success and pass on some attacking prowess.
Personally, I think there’s only the likes of Kevin Phillips, Niall Quinn and Kevin Ball who get the club like we all do, certainly in my time anyway.
Martin Wanless says...
If new owners decided a whole new approach was needed and looked around for a new manager, they’d need to look at the characteristics of successful Sunderland managers of the past.
They need to be charismatic, they need supreme confidence. They need to unite all elements of the club – the fans, the players and the staff. They need to know the club well.
I’d not be disappointed in a return for Mick McCarthy, or Neil Warnock arriving 30 years too late, but they would be short term appointments. We need to look at someone who can build something longer term.
To that end, my dream (semi-realistic) appointment would be Roy Keane. And I believe it is semi-realistic, depending on who takes over. Keane understands the club. He would set high standards and instil a pride we’ve not had for a number of years.
He’d instantly unite the club, and he’d demand respect from everyone - for him and for us. No doubt people will point to his spell at Ipswich, his lack of direct managerial for ten years or so, and his lack of knowledge of League One.
All valid points; however, he’d never worked in the Championship before, and look how that turned out. Also, if we want knowledge of League One, we’d stick with Parkinson. If he has any aspirations of returning to management, which I believe he has, would he really get a job better than the manager of Sunderland AFC right now?
Second choice would be Kevin Phillips. As with Keane, he’d instantly have favour with the fans, and he knows the club inside out. Of course, he’s unproven, just as Keane was all those years ago, and just as Moyes wasn’t. His inexperience isn’t an issue, as long as he has a good backroom staff. I’d love Kevin Ball to be his assistant - someone who’d run through a brick wall for us to be successful.
Phillips comes across as a measured, smart and articulate chap, and his arrival would ensure that, whenever the season does start, we’d start with some hope and momentum. Of course, until the ownership situation is clearer, no-one half decent would entertain joining the club, so for now it’s a fanciful discussion, but with the right backing I believe any of the names mentioned would get us up.
And, if I can throw a wildcard in - how about Joey Barton. Uber confidence? In spades. Obviously his mag connections and general twattishness make it a likely non-starter, but he’d surely jump at the chance. The job he’s done at Fleetwood has been superb, and I have no doubt he’ll go on to have success at a bigger club at some point soon. It’d be a risk if we brought him in - but, like Keane, he’s box office. And that’s what we need.