Sunderland have convinced Dick Advocaat to perform a dramatic U-turn and stay on as manager for another season.
It is believed the former Netherlands coach, who took over in March after Gus Poyet was sacked and guided the club to Premier League safety, has been given assurances there will be significant funding to bring in players at the Stadium of Light and that he will be involved in discussions about who those signings will be.
Sunderland have Lee Congerton as their sporting director and that role has created tension in the past. Paolo Di Canio, who worked as manager with Congerton’s predecessor, Roberto De Fanti, and Poyet, who dealt with Congerton, both expressed their dissatisfaction with the system at the club and the players recruited.
Advocaat had told the Sunderland owner, Ellis Short, after their Premier League status was assured last month that the squad would need five or six new players to be competitive. Short will attempt to make the signings that can end Sunderland’s seemingly perennial fight to stay in the top flight.
This summer there is expected to be an overhaul of the first-team squad. Forwards Danny Graham and Steven Fletcher, who cost the club £17m between them, could be sold.
Advocaat, who had to persuade his wife to allow him to continue in management for a further season after previously saying he would retire to the Netherlands, will be part of those plans. “No, no, no I’ll get a divorce,” he said, when asked last month if he could see himself carrying on. “This is my last job.”
Sunderland had seen moves for Real Sociedad’s David Moyes and the Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement come to nothing following their escape from relegation. They were also monitoring the Burnley manager, Sean Dyche, and the PSV Eindhoven coach, Phillip Cocu. However, Advocaat was still high on their list and they have persuaded the 67-year-old to postpone his retirement.
“After a lot of discussions with Ellis and Lee, they convinced me that I am the right man for the club,” said Advocaat. “It was a great feeling to be part of Sunderland in the last few months, the experience was something very special and after talking with Lee, Ellis and, of course, my family, we all agree this is the right decision.”
Jermain Defoe, whose goals helped keep Sunderland in the Premier League following his arrival in January, revealed the move had taken him by surprise. “I think I was shocked more than anything because it was a massive U-turn,” said Defoe. “He came out and he said he wasn’t going to stay because of his wife.
“He probably looked at it and thought it’s actually a great opportunity to go back to the club and do something special next season.
“He was the first choice and everyone is delighted at the club. First and foremost he was a good guy. He’s a really nice guy but when it’s time to work, you work. From what I’ve heard he’s like Jose Mourinho.”
Advocaat’s appointment in March was seen as a gamble, with just nine games remaining after the volatile relationship between the board and Poyet finally wore thin. Sunderland won three games under Advocaat, against Newcastle, Everton and Southampton and picked up 12 points while he was in charge, including a crucial draw at Arsenal in the penultimate game of the season, which guaranteed the club’s survival.
His overall win percentage ratio, at 33 per cent during his brief spell in charge, is identical to that of Poyet.
Advocaat will have Zeljko Petrovic and Bert van Lingen as his back-room staff at the Stadium of Light, as he did this season.
Honeymoon periods that ended in divorce
Sunderland’s recent record of managerial ups... then downs:
Paolo Di Canio (2013) Two wins in first three games kept them up but a poor start to 2013-14 led to the sack.
Gus Poyet (2013-15) Won three of first five matches, then inspired 2014’s “great escape”. Two league wins in four months brought the sack in March.Reuse content