FOR A CV, Dick Advocaat’s ain’t half bad.
League championships in Holland, Scotland and Russia. A UEFA Cup. A World Cup quarter-final. A European Championships semi-final.
With only nine guaranteed games at the helm, it was either going to be a candidate with a connection to Sunderland, or an old-timer whose appetite was whetted by a short, sharp challenge
Taking charge on a temporary basis of a side devoid of confidence, team shape, structure or goals won’t bother him in the slightest. The 67-year-old has been there and done it.
But the glaring omission from Advocaat’s 35-year managerial career is a stint in the Premier League.
Is that a problem? Not necessarily. The English game may be quicker and more physical, but it’s still the same sport.
Yet how much can Advocaat really know about the likes of Connor Wickham, Liam Bridcutt, Billy Jones and Danny Graham? They’re hardly household names on these shores, let alone abroad.
Some concerned fans have understandably made the comparison with Felix Magath - a vastly-experienced manager, with a glittering record on the Continent, who completely flopped when charged with keeping Fulham in the Premier League last season.
But once Sunderland made the decision to axe Gus Poyet and replace him with a short-term fix, the club’s options were severely limited.
With only nine guaranteed games at the helm, it was either going to be a candidate with a connection to Sunderland, or an old-timer whose appetite was whetted by a short, sharp challenge.
Advocaat falls into the latter category, and given his previous, is probably as good as Sunderland could get.
It’s a big call from sporting director Lee Congerton though, whose ex-Hamburg colleague Frank Arneson gave Advocaat a glowing recommendation after previously working with the Dutchman at PSV Eindhoven.
This is Congerton’s first appointment at Sunderland and while it’s only a temporary one, it’s just as important as the long-term successor to Poyet, given the magnitude of remaining in the Premier League.
Realistically, three wins from Advocaat’s nine games in charge are likely to be sufficient for Sunderland to survive.
But with Saturday’s trip to out-of-form West Ham followed by the Tyne-Wear derby, there is no leeway for him to take his time in finding his Premier League feet.