After years of Sunderland hiring high-profile managers, Stewart Donald bucked the trend somewhat by signing a young boss from St Mirren who was hardly a household name.
That’s certainly down to the fact that our options are limited now, given the level we’re operating at, but Jack Ross looks ambitious, hungry and prepared to roll up his sleeves to take on the massive rebuilding job at a massive football club.
During the Premier League years, Sunderland had no problem attracting a host of what we thought were top managers, but while they all had their moments, it usually didn’t end well, with only Sam Allardyce leaving on his own terms when England came calling.
Allardyce was probably the best fit of them all for Sunderland, he played for the club, worked behind the scenes when Peter Reid was manager, so knew what the club was all about and his departure signalled the start of Sunderland’s spectacular demise.
Even in the Championship, Sunderland could poach Simon Grayson from Preston, where he was doing a fine job, and then Chris Coleman was recruited after doing great things with the Welsh national squad and was as high profile a manager as we could have expected at the time.
Those days, though, are gone. The top managers won’t want to be anywhere near League One, so it makes perfect sense to go for a young manager with energy and hopefully the charisma to manage a club that will be constantly under the microscope in this division.
I’m sure when Jack Ross was offered the job, he would have seen as a risk-reward scenario, the risk being that the club has been on a two-year downward spiral, but the reward being that any success he achieves with Sunderland and the sky is the limit.
There’s so many clubs in League One and the Championship where it would be very difficult to get them any higher but that’s not the case with Sunderland. The potential is limitless, with a Premier League stadium, outstanding training facilities and a loyal, passionate fanbase just desperate for something positive to happen to the club they love.
Jack will have been told all this and he’s smart enough to know that he’s joined a big club, especially after what he witnessed on Saturday, but it might not be until he’s fully got his feet under the table and hopefully gets the team challenging at the top that he’ll find out just how big the club he’s joined really is.