Wise Men Say: Yet another change of manager could signal even more chaos for Sunderland

Chris Coleman celebrates the 4-1 win over Derby County, his last victory as Sunderland boss. Picture by Frank Reid
Chris Coleman celebrates the 4-1 win over Derby County, his last victory as Sunderland boss. Picture by Frank Reid
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On a quiet Spring afternoon, Sunderland proved beyond doubt that there is a never a dull moment on Wearside.

Without even kicking a ball, they managed to evoke a mixture of anger, joy and trepidation in equal measure.

First came the widespread outrage which greeted the sacking of Chris Coleman, followed by the excitement of potential new ownership and elation that Short had left the club debt-free and in a much healthier financial position.

From a personal viewpoint, I am relieved that we have resolved the ownership issue at the earliest opportunity and Short must be applauded for that, despite his many deficiencies during his tenure.

However, I fear the sacking of Coleman will undo a certain degree of goodwill generated by the new ownership.

Although I accept that the former Wales boss has not lived up to expectations on the pitch, yet another change of manager could signal even more chaos.

The new ownership should have represented our best chance in years to go into the forthcoming season in a position of strength.

With Coleman we had a manager who wanted to be here and clearly understood the demands of the region.

He also had the added bonus of assessing the players at his disposal over an extended period and was in the process of formulating his file of transfer targets for the summer.

With the new owners in place, it is fair to assume that he would have been able to press on with his ‘best case’ scenario list of incomings. In addition to this, Coleman would have accounted for the 10 players whose contracts are set to expire or make a return to their parent clubs as well as the inevitable departures of Didier Ndong, Wahbi Khazri, Fabio Borini, Lamine Kone and Bryan Oviedo.

A new manager will have to come in, cast his judgement on the current group of players before drawing up his own list of players.

Doing our recruitment as soon as possible is even more crucial this year given that the transfer window will close on August 9, just after the season gets underway.

Therefore, keeping Chris Coleman made sense from a logistical standpoint.

One possible glimmer of hope for the upcoming transfer window is the size of Sunderland compared to the level they find themselves playing at.

Financial stability coupled with the Stadium of Light and the Academy will surely make us one of the most desirable League One sides, Coleman would only have boosted our appeal even further.

Regardless of recent events, his stock remains high and a manager of his calibre could have proven invaluable.

His presence and commitment to the cause cannot be underestimated either.

When Sunderland have momentum behind them, it can be difficult to halt and as we saw under Roy Keane, having a charismatic manager at the helm can make the world of difference.

There have been cries in some quarters for Mick McCarthy to return to the club, but anyone who witnessed his first spell will know his pragmatic brand of football never got the pulses racing and despite winning the Championship with 94 points, we averaged less than 30,000 at the SOL.

For the reasons stated above, I have reservations about the hasty departure of Coleman, but the new owners do deserve a period of grace before we make snap judgements on any decisions they make.

In years to come I hope we look back upon ‘this sliding doors’ moment as the start of a new era and Coleman will be remembered as little more than a man who steered the ship through choppy waters before his successor took the club back to where we belong; rather than the man who got away.

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