IT is inevitable that there will be endless speculation on the course Sunderland are likely to take to fill the managerial vacancy which arose yesterday morning when it was mutually agreed that Mr Alan Brown’s contract should be terminated forthwith. There is the widest field for forecasting.
The only know negative is Mr Brian Clough, a former Sunderland centre forward, who signed a five-year contract with Derby County on Saturday and has declared that he is no longer interested in the Sunderland job, which he found attractive not so long ago.
But while speculation mounts, decision-making is in the hands of the Sunderland directors. Club chairman, Mr Keith Collings told me this morning that the wide range of decisions arising will be considered at tonight’s board meeting.
The major consideration will be to plan for the appointment of a successor at the earliest possible moment, but whether there will come from this board meeting any guidance on how this is to be done remains to be seen.
The last time a similar situation arose and the position was advertised there were over 80 applicants and top named managers like Don Revie, Tommy Docherty, Dave Bowen, Raich Carter, and Bob Dennison were linked with the post in a four-month search before Mr George Hardwick was appointed as manager-without-contract.
It could well be that there will be a different approach to the task on this occasion.
Other important decisions to be taken tonight cover the handling of affairs between now and a new appointment, training and tactical planning, and team selection. The obvious candidate for the “caretaker” job is trainer-coach Billy Elliott, who can bring the important quality of continuity to beat upon the situation.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on November 2 1972.