Tony Gillan: Karanka, Reid, Redknapp? Who is mad enough to become manager of Sunderland?

Aitor Karanka.
Aitor Karanka.
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Including the man himself, everyone knew that Simon Grayson was for the chop as soon as the final whistle blew at the draw with Bolton.

It’s best to do such things swiftly, but I was a little surprised to hear the announcement before I had reached the south end of the Wearmouth Bridge last Tuesday.

It’s hard to quibble with the dismissal of a manager who has won only one of his 15 games.

But the manner of it left a little to be desired. Can you imagine what it was like to be Simon Grayson and still be in that building; with all those people muttering and pointing because the whole world knew he had been given the boot?

Had SAFC waited another hour to make the announcement, he would have had time to get far from the madding crowd, it would have made no material difference to the club and shown a modicum of class. Grayson is a decent man.

However, of far more importance is the issue of who replaces him. Managerial appointments are always crucial. This one will be particularly so. Who do you reckon then?

Proffered names for the role include the usual list of popular former Sunderland players. But this is for no other reason than the fact that they are popular former Sunderland players. They should be discounted.

Current player John O’Shea should concentrate solely on playing. Maybe he could manage one day, but not now. I truly believe that would complete a developing disaster.

Past managers who brought success to the club have also been touted; namely Peter Reid and Roy Keane.

But Mr Reid didn’t exactly hit the heights during his subsequent stints at Leeds, Coventry or Plymouth. The same can be said of Roy Keane at Ipswich.

The bookies are giving odds on the same old expected names; Phil Parkinson, Chris Coleman, Phil Brown, Nigel Pearson, Paul Lambert and now Slaven Bilić.

None particularly excites. But the thought of Harry Redknapp being wheeled in is terrifying.

Also spoken of are people whose primary qualification seems to be Glaswegian cronyism.

Then there are the novices and complete beginners. The task is daunting enough for men of experience; although everyone was a beginner at some time.

My own preference would be Aitor Karanka. He “knows the Championship” as they say and how to keep a clean sheet (some of you may need to ask your dads what a clean sheet is).

Against this is that his Middlesbrough team was notoriously shot-shy (even Sunderland outscored them last season) and the notorious wobbler he threw in March 2016.

You might differ, but he would be my choice. The fact is that any appointment will have its flaws. I don’t entirely disagree with the notion that they may as well raffle the job.

History tells us that anything can happen when a new man turns up at Sunderland; as proven in hugely differing ways by Stokoe, McMenemy, O’Neill, Reid, Keane, Moyes, Smith and others.

Of course, to argue in favour of selecting any individual supposes that the same person is skint enough, or mad enough, to become manager of Sunderland AFC.