Wise Men Say: Chris Coleman can bring the magic back to Sunderland

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Reflecting on his FA Cup triumph, Bob Stokoe uttered the forever quotable line: “I didn’t bring the magic. It was always here. I just came back to find it.”

Now I’m not suggesting that Chris Coleman will be leading us to cup glory any time soon, but there are striking similarities between the situation we currently find ourselves in and the one Stokoe inherited in 1972 when he took over from Alan Brown.

The club was in the doldrums, struggling near the bottom of the old Second Division, crowds were significantly lower than they had been in previous years and there was a feeling that the squad was better than its league position suggested.

All this was set against a backdrop of an economic depression, which was at its harshest in the North East. Sound familiar?

Just a few short months later, crowds had soared, the people of Wearside had fallen back in love with their team and the cup-winning manager is still hero-worshipped to this day.

Fast forward to the present day, and Coleman has already suggested that part of his mission statement is to win the fans over and get the city “rocking and rolling” again.

Naturally, this is easier said than done but the former Wales manager has certainly got people believing again.

If he can steer the lads clear from relegation trouble, he will be well on his way to winning back some stay-away supporters.

The most pleasing aspect of Coleman’s time at the club so far has been his enthusiasm for the job and bullish determination to succeed.

His arrival has flown in the face of pundits who suggested that we are a poisoned chalice and nobody would touch Sunderland with a barge pole.

It reminds us all that, despite our current woes, we are a big club with enormous potential and if a manager could harness that he would be forever idolised.

The new man has already created a bit of siege mentality around the place.

He has delivered a timely reminder that one day someone has to get it right at the club and we are far from unmanageable.

Of course, he must back up the optimism of his early press conferences with on-field performances, but, after seeing our name being dragged through the mud on a regular basis, it is nice to see someone prepared to fight our corner and talk us up.

When you look at managers who have succeeded over the past 20 years, they have all been strong personalities with drive, hunger and a certain degree of arrogance.

Coleman certainly has this in abundance.

The new gaffer said: “Nothing good ever came from a comfort zone.”

Peter Reid, Roy Keane and Bob Stokoe all took over when it looked like we were heading for the third tier of English football and hopefully, with determination, togetherness and good management, Coleman can bring the magic back and we can get the club rocking and rolling.

* The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes