Chris Coleman leads Sunderland for first time at Aston Villa: Five managerial debuts he aims to emulate

Sunderland manager Chris Coleman
Sunderland manager Chris Coleman
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Chris Coleman sends Sunderland out at Aston Villa tonight hoping to maintain the feelgood factor he has brought to Wearside.

But the Welshman will be hard-pressed at in-form Villa to match the immediate impact made by some of his predecessors as Black Cats boss.

Here are five of the finest managerial debuts ever enjoyed by a Sunderland boss.


Robert Kyle: September 2, 1905: Sunderland 3-2 Newcastle United

It was well over a century ago, but Kyle’s derby triumph on debut remains the best-ever result recorded by a Sunderland boss on debut.

The length of Kyle’s reign at Roker Park – 13 years – might have had something to do with him seeing off the old enemy on day one in the job.

Arthur Bridgett’s brace and a goal from Jimmy Gemmell saw them – and Kyle - write themselves into Wearside folklore.

Malcolm Crosby: January 1, 1992: Sunderland 2-0 Barnsley

After only initially being appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the season, Crosby’s FA Cup success in 1991-92 gave the Black Cats board no choice but to appoint him permanently.

Crosby remains the fourth and last Black Cats’ manager to lead them into the Wembley showpiece.

But Denis Smith’s former No 2’s reign actually began with a New Year’s Day victory over Barnsley which lifted the Black Cats from 17th place in Division Two and – crucially – triggered a run of four straight league wins.

A goal in either half from Gordon Armstong and Don Goodman secured three points in front of 16,107 at Roker Park.

Peter Reid: April 1, 1995: Sunderland 1-0 Sheffield United

Reid inherited a Black Cats side sitting just two points above the old First Division relegation zone.

With seven games to achieve survival, Reid accumulated 12 points – and three of them at Roker Park on day one – despite a false alarm the night before.

Brian Atkinson’s first-half goal proved enough, with referee Scott Mathieson’s dismissal of the Blades’ David Tuttle helping Reid’s men home.

Roy Keane: September 9, 2006: Derby County 1-2 Sunderland

It’s a case of Back to the Future when you look at Sunderland’s situation when Keane took the helm 11 years ago.

Keane succeeded Niall Quinn with the Black Cats rock bottom of the Championship, yet they ended up winning the title.

Granted, the Irishman had significantly longer than Chris Coleman has to pull off that turnaround.

For it all began on a rollercoaster day at Pride Park when two goals in as many minutes from Chris Brown and Ross Wallace midway through the second half saw Keane’s new charges hold out for a momentum-building victory.

Martin O’Neill: December 11, 2011: Sunderland 2-1 Blackburn Rovers

O’Neill was welcomed to Wearside almost as gratefully as Coleman after his predecessor Steve Bruce had left Sunderland in the Premier League bottom three.

And the new man looked like a messiah after a sensational late debut win in a game which saw the Black Cats trail for well over an hour.

Having gone behind just after the quarter-hour mark, Sunderland finally found an equaliser six minutes from time through David Vaughan’s 25-yard strike.

And then a near-40,000 crowd went home wildly happy after Sebastian Larsson converted an injury-time free kick.