GUS Poyet has revealed how he picked the brains of Martin O’Neill about Sunderland before applying for the job.
The Uruguayan has openly admitted that he was looking for a Premier League club to boss after leaving Brighton in May.
And having found himself in the company of O’Neill this summer, he wasted no time in finding out all about the club.
Since then, Poyet has studied Sunderland even more closely as it hit rock-bottom under Paolo Di Canio and the ex-Chelsea midfielder strode into the Stadium of Light in midweek insisting he was fully up to speed on the Black Cats.
“I know this club,” said the new head coach. “I came here and played here and I have studied it and I know all about its fans and its history.
“I was lucky too – I went to a meeting of the League Managers’ Association in the summer and, by coincidence, I played golf with Martin O’Neill.
“I took the opportunity to ask him 150 questions!”
Poyet said O’Neill had been brilliant in talking to him about the ins and outs at Sunderland Football Club and also what he might expect if he ever had the chance to manage there.
“I did not really know Martin before that,” said Poyet. “But it was a pleasure to meet him.
“He spoke very highly of the club itself and everybody here.
“Martin is a very honest person, a lovely person, and he spoke highly about the chairman, the fans, the players.
“I also asked him questions that I cannot reveal to give me insight into lots of details about the club”
“It was important to me to know his opinion after him having been here for a while.
“I used the opportunity of being with him for 18 holes to get information from him and I will call him now that I have the job.”
Poyet had 76 text messages on his telephone as he began his first Press conference at the Academy of Light, messages of good luck and good will.
But one person he had not been in contact with was his immediate predecessor as head coach.
“I don’t have Paolo Di Canio’s telephone number,” he said.
* Don’t miss your value-for-money Football Echo – the best buy of the weekend. It’s out this morning, with reaction to Gus Poyet’s arrival, a packed page of letters, Tony Gillan’s unmissable View From The Bridge, Yesterdays and much more.