Sunderland turn to Dick Advocaat after running out of patience with manager Gus Poyet

 

Sunderland will turn to Dick Advocaat to save their season after sacking Gus Poyet as manager today.

The Sunderland board allowed Poyet to take training on Monday morning before ending his 17-month reign at the Stadium of Light. Many supporters left the ground during the 4-0 home hammering by Aston Villa on Saturday and the club’s board, led by owner and chairman Ellis Short, felt there was no way back for the 47-year-old Uruguayan.

Sunderland are just one point above the relegation zone and have won only once in the league in 2015. There have also been just two victories at home during a moribund season.

The club are now ready to appoint Advocaat, who left his position in charge of Serbia in November last year. The 67-year-old has not managed in England and his most recent spell at club level was with AZ Alkmaar, whom he left in the summer of 2014. He has enjoyed success in the British Isles, leading Rangers to back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000.

Advocaat will be handed a short-term contract that will last for the remaining nine games the club have left to save their Premier League status. It is believed he has already been sounded out and is eager to succeed Poyet. He is expected to be in charge by the time Sunderland go to West Ham on Saturday in what has become a huge game for the club. Zeljko Petrovic, who worked with Advocaat when he was Serbia coach and also had a spell with West Ham in 2010, will be his assistant.

Sunderland have won just four of their 29 league games this season and are the second lowest-scoring team in the division, having mustered just 23 goals in a miserable campaign.

 

Poyet took over at the Stadium of Light after dressing-room disquiet led to the sacking of Paolo Di Canio, who in turn had been rushed in to preserve Sunderland’s Premier League status in March 2013, when there were seven games remaining. Poyet helped lead the club to safety, took Sunderland to a League Cup final and beat Newcastle on three successive occasions. However, his relationship with the board had never fully recovered after a bust-up following a heavy defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last season.

He also saw the disintegration of his relationship with the fans when he was critical of their desire for the team to play attacking football during a home defeat against Queen’s Park Rangers. For that the travelling support during the FA Cup defeat to Bradford mocked him. He wrote a letter of apology but it was indicative of his increasing isolation.

Poyet was never comfortable in the role of head coach and took great delight in revealing it had been his involvement in the January signing of Jermain Defoe that had been crucial, rather than Lee Congerton, the sport director.

The sacking of Poyet, who signed a new two-year deal at the end of May, means the appointment of Advocaat will be the seventh manager Short has employed since he took full control of the club.

Short released a statement yesterday following the dismissal of Poyet. “I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season’s ‘great escape’ and Cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan,” it said.

“Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed.”

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