We asked a Sunderland writer what he thinks of Sheffield Wednesday-linked Chris Coleman
Former Wales and Sunderland manager Chris Coleman is the bookies’ favourite to become the next manager of Sheffield Wednesday after the departure of Steve Bruce to Newcastle United last week.
The 49-year-old is as short as 11/10 with some bookmakers to take the Hillsborough hotseat.
His last job in England, a short-lived spell at Sunderland, ultimately ended in April 2018 after the club were relegated the third tier for only the second time in their history.
His tenure was captured in the controversial Netflix documentary Sunderland Till I Die, a six-part series that offered a fly-on-the-wall look at the disastrous season.
But what were the circumstances around that departure? And how is Coleman still seen in the north east? We asked Richard Mennear, football writer for the Sunderland Echo, for the lowdown.
What was made of his move to the Stadium of Light?
“It was seen as a major coup when Sunderland landed Chris Coleman.
“The former Wales boss - who had enjoyed major success on the international scene and was hot property - the man chosen to replace Simon Grayson and tasked with ensuring the Black Cats didn't suffer back-to-back relegations.”
And how did it go?
“Coleman was appointed in mid-November. The club was bottom of the Championship at the time with just one win.
“But they were not cut adrift. They had time. Time to turn their season around.
“But they couldn't manage it. Coleman unable to prevent Sunderland drop into the third tier of English football for only the second time in its long, proud history.
What is he like?
“Coleman is a charismatic character. A big character. He spoke with great affection about the club, the fans and the area. Fans backed him. There was a connection.
“Coleman actually came across well in that Netflix documentary, a really good bloke, who cared deeply.”
Why didn’t it work out for Coleman at Sunderland?
“The problems at the club ran far, far deeper than the manager. He inherited a club in serious debt, with overpaid and under-performing players, several of which didn't want to be there
“Coleman's 4-3-3 tactics were criticised at times but injuries also took their toll on the Sunderland squad, confidence at an all time low. There was a constant tension, anxiety around the club and players who couldn't cope under the increasing pressure.
“It was a recipe for another relegation and Coleman was unable to prevent it.
“Not effectively replacing Lewis Grabban's goals in January was a mistake, while Aiden McGeady openly criticised Coleman for his tactics in the documentary.”
So to sum up?
“In many ways he felt like the right appointment at the wrong time. What could he have achieved had he funds to spend and more time to shape the Sunderland side the way he wanted?
“We'll never know. Another managerial casualty at the Stadium of Light.”