Odds all over: Sunderland's apparent scattergun manager search based on little more than pot luck?

If you believe the reports (yes I know), Sunderland have now made contact with per

by Brandon_Rawlin Sunday, 19 November 2017 07:54 PM Comments

If you believe the reports, Sunderland have now made contact with perhaps upwards of half-a-dozen candidates for the vacant manager's job. All with varying credentials, reputations and characteristics. That pot luck approach surely significantly reduces the new man's chances of success before he even starts. 


The numbers of woe are well known, and oft-repeated, Sunderland have had 13 managers in the fifteen years since Peter Reid departed, 9 since Keane left in 2008 and the next man to take the post will be the sixth first team boss in the last four years. 

In those intervening years, the Wearsiders have tried every type of manager there is. The Firebrand Maverick (Di Canio), the Hardman Player (Keane), the Big Man (Allardyce), the Much-travelled International Veteran (Advocaat), the Builder (Moyes - snigger), The EFL Expert (Grayson) etc etc. 

None of them have amounted to much of course bar Keane and Allardyce. But then why would they? Historians might call the period in Sunderland history since Reid departed in 2002 "The Scattergun Years"- the failure that blighted the Ellis Short era. That is of course assuming that the club's present steep decline can be halted to make further history before the gates are locked and everyone wanders away muttering that they can't do this any longer. 

And certainly this latest managerial hunt hints at a club which has learned nothing from recent awful failures. Anyone who observes present-day football will be able to assign a tag to the names Sunderland have supposedly approached in the last fortnight - Chris Coleman, Paul Heckingbottom, Michael O'Neill, Uwe Rosler, Ally McCoist, Nathan Jones, etc etc. 

All present with their own characteristics, experience in the game and unique credentials. Each would bring an entirely different approach to managing the club, and would require some degree of fresh start and 'let's try it this way now'. All incredibly different men, at all aspects of the experience spectrum with a mind-boggling array of strengths and weaknesses. 

You need look no further than the betting markets to confirm this scattergun hunt is becoming increasingly desperate. John O'Shea, Paul Heckingbottom, Aitor Karanka and in recent days Chris Coleman and Peter Reid have each seen large swings in the odds that they will take the job. 

With a continuing lack of strategy or hint of direction at Sunderland, the rudder-less ship continues its course and despite having a brief window in which to reconsider where it would like to go next, the club looks set to remain steadfast to its now well-established policy of having no policy to direct its footballing strategy. 

No one really seems to know who has been seriously spoken to, nor who else was contacted but refused to speak with Sunderland, nor how far any of the approaches have really progressed. All we really know is that no one has been appointed as yet and Robbie Stockdale will be on the touchline when the Lads take on Millwall tomorrow. 

Few would argue the case for Sunderland restoring a Director of Football, such were the disasters of Di Fanti and Congerton, but clubs without a footballing direction or strategy such as the present Short-owned version rarely do much without a vision or direction. 

Forget the oft-quoted 'rotten-core' tag assigned to Sunderland AFC, there is no core. No core values, no core strategy, no core clue. We're now in the hands of pot luck. And if pot luck fails again, we'll be back to doing this all again in six months' time.