Chris Coleman reveals his dream for Sunderland and the effect the club and region has on him
Sunderland boss Chris Coleman could have been forgiven for wondering whether it was a metaphor of some sort.
He was an enthusiastic participant in a drill at the Caterpillar plant in Peterlee, simulating the articulated truck production line that sends machinery all over the world.
Three times his drill broke down.
“I don’t think it’s the game for me. A few Sunderland supporters might say football isn’t the game for me either, mind,” he joked.
Coleman and his squad were shown around the impressive facilities, taking in the state of the art technology and meeting the 1400 strong workforce.
The vast majority Sunderland supporters, plenty keen to ask the boss what he makes of it all.
For Coleman, it underlined the passion that brought him to the club, of the special place the club holds in the wider community.
Right now it may not feel like a significant advantage, but it is a task he relishes and one that he still hopes will power him to a successful tenure.
“They have this hallway and it is made up like you’re coming down the tunnel at the Stadium of Light,” he said.
“That’s incredible, I loved that. Not every club can have that effect. It tells you what this club is.
“I’m witnessing this really tough time now, and we’re not doing what we need to be doing.
“When you’re at a club as big as this, there’s no escape.
“You fill your car up and people want to know what’s going on, that’s how it is.
“I just think what it will be like if we flip it, if it becomes positive.
“I still dream about that, I hold on to that. If it’s not going well then people will let you know about it, but I came here because of the passion of people around the club.
“If we lose I am beaten for 24 hours, to be honest. It doesn’t last with me, though. For 24 hours yeah, because of the size of this club, the situation we’re in, when you’re not changing things it is a heavy burden.
“But it doesn’t last with me, I promise you I’m back and ready quickly.
“I’m excited for Friday, I’ll be ready for it.”
Results have been a bitter disappointment so far for Coleman but he has settled quickly in the North East and insists he has no regrets over his decision.
Part of that has been a natural affinity he has quickly built up with much of the support.
Long may it continue, is his mantra.
“I had a very grounded upbringing,” he said.
“When I grew up my father didn’t have a job for a very long time, we didn’t have anything.
“The fact I’m in professional football, I was lucky, it chose me, I didn’t choose it.
“So to do what I do, to get out and speak to people and meet people, it is second nature.
“I’m always happy to meet people. When they stop wanting to spend time with you and talk to you, that’s when you’ve got to worry.”