Chris Coleman: Sunderland name ex-Wales boss as manager

Lena Dunham
Successor as Wales manager must be passionate Welshman, says Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman has been named as boss of struggling Championship side Sunderland after resigning as Wales manager.

The 47-year-old has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal, replacing Simon Grayson, who was sacked at the end of October after only 18 games in charge.

Sunderland, relegated from the Premier League last season, are bottom of the table after just one win in 17 matches.

Welshman Coleman becomes their 10th permanent manager since Roy Keane’s exit in December 2008.

His first game will be Tuesday’s trip to Aston Villa in the league (19:45 GMT kick-off).

After Grayson’s departure, Billy McKinlay and Robbie Stockdale took joint caretaker charge of the derby match at Middlesbrough, which they lost 1-0.

McKinlay then left to join former Black Cats boss David Moyes’ backroom staff at West Ham, leaving Stockdale in sole charge of Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Millwall.

That result meant Sunderland became the first team in English football to fail to win in 20 successive home games in all competitions.

They have three opportunities in December to avoid going the whole of 2017 without a victory at the Stadium of Light.

From Fulham to Athlitiki Enosi Larissa

Chris Coleman: Farewell to a Welsh managerial hero

Welshman Coleman finished his playing career at Fulham in 2002, but stayed at Craven Cottage to join the coaching staff.

He took over from manager Jean Tigana in April 2003 on a caretaker basis and helped the side avoid relegation from the Premier League and was consequently rewarded with the full-time role.

He led the Cottagers to ninth place in the Premier League in his first full season in charge, but was eventually sacked in April 2007.

Spells at Real Sociedad, Coventry City and Greek side Athlitiki Enosi Larissa followed before he was appointed as Wales manager in January 2012, two months after the death of predecessor Gary Speed.

Former defender Coleman guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 but he arrives at the Stadium of Light after they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

What is it like to manage Sunderland?

Former Black Cats manager Simon Grayson on BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek

I don’t think the club is unmanageable but it is a big proposition for anybody because of the name, where it’s been, the fanbase etc. What we found more difficult than I realised was trying to transfer the positivity from the training ground to the Stadium of Light, where there has been a lot of negativity and poor results over the years.

I met him [owner Ellis Short] when I was interviewed for the job and at the first game of the season and that was the last I heard or saw of him. He moved to America. In his defence, he has put £250m into that club and is still funding it now.

That’s a hell of a lot of money. It has been mismanaged for many different reasons and there has been a lot of money wasted over the years. Certainly, there comes a point where maybe enough is enough for somebody.

The biggest thing Chris will need is time because it just doesn’t happen overnight when a club has been through some real dark stages. Looking from the outside, he will know there is something wrong somewhere because of where they are.

He will go to the training ground and see huge facilities and an absolutely brilliant venue to go and work every day but it’s what happens on the grass that matters.


Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown on Football Focus

I think Chris is now ready for this job. He did a fantastic job for Wales and now he needs a new challenge. But Sunderland are in all sorts of trouble. That club is on a slippery slide, it needs correcting urgently.

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson on Football Focus

They are in all sorts of trouble because look at the managers that they’ve had who haven’t been able to turn it around. I thought Chris would have waited a little bit longer to get a club in a better position – but that is one heck of a job.

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