Black Cats legend Micky Horswill is desperate to keep Sam Allardyce at the Stadium of Light.
Big Sam has emerged as the bookies’s favourite for the England hotseat - but 1973 FA Cup winner Micky is hoping Sunderland owner Ellis Short can persuade him to carry on with the project he began when he succeeded Dick Advocaat last season.
“Sam did a fantastic job last year,” said Micky.
“For the first time in the last four or five seasons, he actually brought in players who made the team better.
“Other managers have brought players in every season and none of them had made the team any better.
“Sam was only there for a few weeks, but he saw what he needed, he brought the lads in and all of them made a fantastic contribution.”
If you are a politician, you want to be Prime Minister, if you are in football, you want to be the manager of your national team.Micky Horswill
Micky fears time is running out to bring in a new manager who will then have to identify his own transfer targets.
“We have already let two or three people leave and we have not brought any players in,” he said.
“We’re in a position now where Sam is not going to be thinking about who he might be bringing in, which is not good for our club.
“If Sam is going to go, we need to get somebody in who will bring those three or four players that we are desperate for.”
Micky is clear on what any new manager will need to do - but less so on who it might be.
“We have survived for the last three or four seasons by the skin of out teeth - now we need someone to progress from what Sam did last season,” he said.
“We need three or four more people to come in before the season starts. The players are out on tour now, they are playing practice matches - now is when we need to get players in so they have a chance to gel before the season starts.
“I have been thinking about it but I can’t think of anyone better than Sam. I know David Moyes has been mentioned but Sam is the one who knows how to build teams. He does not go out and spend millions and millions of pounds - he goes out and builds a team and that’s the sort of manager we need.
“We are not going to spend 50 or 60 million pounds so we need a manager who has got the insight to build a squad that is going to gel. That is what he did last season and we need to push on from there.
“For the life of me, I can’t think who that would be. I can’t think of anybody at all. I just hope Mr Short tries to keep Sam.”
As much as Micky wants Sam to stay, he will understand if the former Sunderland star decides to take English football’s top job: “Every manager dreams about it,” he said.
“If you are a politician, you want to be Prime Minister, if you are in football, you want to be the manager of your national team.
“Sam keeps talking about wanting to retire - if he is offered the England job for four years, it is going to be ideal for him - but I just hope Mr Short can get him to stay.”