“Five years too far to look ahead”
SEVEN days after revealing that he had been offered a five-year contract and expressing his delight that the Board should show this kind of confidence in him, Sunderland manger Mr Bob Stokoe today announced that he was turning it down because five years is too far to look ahead.
“If I was only thinking about myself I would say, “Give me the contract and I’ll sign it,” he said. “But I think I can get the message of the moment over better without one. It will be better for the club and myself.
“People are fed up of five-year plans” and youth policies. It will be a two-year job to take them up and then we can think about it. I don’t want to look any further ahead at the moment.
“The club and its supporters have too many lean years behind them. I want to add this note of urgency and ambition to the club’s thinking and the players, too, and then put it over to the supporters.
“This club is bigger than I can ever be and is deserving of being back in the big league. With the backing they are getting right now, they should not be anywhere else.
“We have been getting a lot of encouragement and this is what the players need. Without mentioning any names, we have a lot of players very capable of playing in the First Division.
“The job is to get everybody – and that includes the players – thinking right and knowing what we are trying to do next season.
So, for a two-year spell of his own choosing, Mr Stokoe becomes manager-without-contract because he feel that the fresh thinking and urgency which he brings to the task can be better put over that way.
With club, crowd, players and staff behind him, he commits himself to making it a two-year race to glory.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on March 15 1973.