David Preece: New boss is a real leader and his process can turn Sunderland around

Chris Coleman shakes hands with Villa boss Steve Bruce.
Chris Coleman shakes hands with Villa boss Steve Bruce.
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I try not to write in cliches but sometimes it’s difficult to steer clear of them. I favour making up my own analogies, similes and metaphors, mostly making them so tenuous I’m the only one that finds them amusing.

You could almost say like someone who is hard of hearing signing to a blind man. See? I’m not even entirely sure that works but what I am 100% sure of is that it will be green-lighted by whoever has the unfortunate task of editing this column with its usual typos.

It hasn’t been a great couple of weeks publicly for Sunderland and every comment made about the club has somehow turned into a cliche. “Poisoned chalice”, “career-wrecking job” ... I could vomit every time I hear the phrase “basket case” when someone is referring to the club. I’m tired of people laughing when they ask who I support.

Enough about me though, and more about Chris Coleman. As a man, it’s difficult not to like him. His first interview on the club’s website was a perfect illustration of that and anyone who upon seeing it didn’t immediately wish him to do well has their heart in the wrong place.

There is no chance the excuse of failing to do due diligence will be made anytime in the future as Coleman is coming into this job not just with his eyes wide open, but with spectacles on and a magnifying glass in his hand.

We all know the task he faces but the least everyone can do is get behind him. I know that likeablity and good bloke-ishness aren’t any guarantee of success (are they even real words?), but it’s a start that some managers aren’t even afforded.

There won’t be many people around these parts feeling sorry for David Moyes right now but I can’t help having some sympathy with him.

The response to his appointment and the subsequent calls for his dismissal from some sections of West Ham fans AFTER JUST ONE GAME IN CHARGE makes a difficult job nigh on impossible.

That said, having some fans lose so much faith in you they call up TalkSport and wish for you to be replaced by a duo of Mark Noble and Ray Winstone is some achievement and perhaps should be applauded.

I’m being facetious here, but I guess we should be thankful that none of us have suggested a dream team of Lee Cattermole and Steve Cram to take over after Tuesday’s defeat to Villa. Not that I’m aware of, anyway.

Chris Coleman brings more to the job than just a charisma though and of course he’ll need a helluva lot more than that to turn the ship around. Those who question why he took the job in the first place only need to imagine his standing in the game should he stave off a relegation this season and have the club challenging at the the top end of the Championship this time next year.

You could put it down as a weakness that every manager has; the belief that they can turn a problem child into an Eric Cantona but credit Coleman for taking on a job that could be compared to someone taking a flick-knife to a sword fight. We’ll just have to hope he’s Chuck Norris if that’s the case!

“How is he going to do that, given the situation the club finds itself in, on and off the pitch?” you might well ask, and you’d be right to pose the question. Well, let’s assume the ownership status remains the same over that period and the entirely plausible notion that funds won’t be made available in January to help him strengthen his squad to any great degree.

The only problem with that would be any new loan players will have a bearing on the match-day squad as only five are allowed in the 18 and no more than two over-23-year-olds - and it would also raise question marks over some of the ones already brought in who can’t get in the side.

What could change this is the volume of injuries to the likes of Kone, Jones, Williams and Watmore inflicted on the squad that could force Ellis Short into releasing funds to fight relegation.

News of the reoccurrence of Duncan Watmore’s cruciate injury is just devastating for him and the squad. His pace and energy have been sorely missed during his time out and hopefully this time he comes back fully recovered.

If there is some wriggle room with regards to ins and outs, it’s imperative that Coleman wrestles power over recruitment and makes sure he has the final say. For too long this has been the club’s downfall and a more trusted, authoritative stamp is needed in that area.

I’m currently continuing my coaching education with the FAW and, as you can imagine, everyone speaks highly of him but it’s encouraging to hear the details behind their praise.

A big part of Coleman’s management style is creating a culture of togetherness. He places trust in everyone around him that is done in a way that means it is repaid. This is the “x factor” that escapes some exceptional coaches. It’s the alchemy that every manager tries to concoct.

An ex-Liverpool player from the early 1980s said to me that the best thing for creating team spirit is winning matches, so by that token you can imagine how difficult a job it is to build a successful culture at a club through barren times.

Coleman can do that and has already achieved it in the international arena where managers crave that club football-type culture despite few contact days together.

What was most pleasing for me to hear was that he has a clear, supremely well-organised process that he works to. Despite the injury list and just 60 hours in the job, buds of the new methodology could be seen against Villa on Tuesday.

All this means that if he does turn this around, Coleman can take full credit for his achievement and even place it above what he did with Wales.

He gave the country pride back in its football team and if there is one thing I want him to do, it is to at least do that and put a stop to the “basket case” references when people talk about Sunderland Football Club.