BOB STOKOE, who refused a five-year contact with Sunderland because he wanted to give himself two years to take the club back up to the First Division and count himself a failure if he did not do so, has been persuaded to change his mind. After a round of talks which started yesterday morning and finished at last night’s board meeting, club chairman Mr Keith Collings announced that Mr Stokoe had agreed to sign a five-year contract and that they had shaken hands on it.
Mr Stokoe said: “I’ve been told that I am expecting too much too soon and being too hard on myself. I have agreed to sign because it is Sunderland practice for managers to be on five-year contracts and I am deeply honoured by the confidence my directors have shown in me.
“I could not be happier than I am here. We have a happy team and relationships all round are great. Winning back crowd support was important, but felt sure they could be attracted because I knew the fans here were just waiting to be pulled back.
“This was the big task and I though I could tackle it better without a contract by putting over the message of urgency.
“Nothing will steer me away from this course, regardless of the length of my contract. I want everything to go well and a lot will depend upon my relationship with crowd and club, because I have no intention of outstaying my welcome.
“If I’m not capable of putting the club back into the top flight where they belong, someone else can have a try.
“I’m now looking forward to getting on with the job, and I could not ask for a better relationship than I have with my chairman and his directors.”
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on April 27 1973.