For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Can Poyet save Sunderland after landing two-year deal?
ELLIS SHORT has handed Gus Poyet a two-year deal at the Stadium of Light after the Uruguayan convinced the club’s owner he could keep Sunderland in the Premier League this season.
Poyet is expected to be paraded in front of the media later today after further discussions over the weekend ended in an agreement being reached and the finer details were ironed out yesterday.
Now the former Brighton boss will head in to his first game at Swansea City on October 19 looking to turnaround Sunderland’s dreadful start to the season, which contributed cost Paolo Di Canio his job.
Intriguingly the former Tottenham midfielder’s first home game will be against Newcastle United on October 27.
Poyet takes charge of a team that has picked up just one point from the opening seven Premier League fixtures and many believe he will do well to prevent the Wearside club from dropping in to the Championship this season.
But during talks with Short, the preferred appointment of director of football Roberto De Fanti is thought to have impressed while convincing the American that he can transform Sunderland’s fortunes this season.
After two weeks of dialogue between the two camps, Poyet has been chosen ahead of the likes of caretaker boss Kevin Ball, Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick and ex-Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen. Stoke’s Tony Pulis, like Steve McClaren before his Derby appointment, was never in the running.
It is likely Poyet would have been in charge back in April had he not been still employed by Brighton. Sunderland were reluctant to pay the £2.5m compensation package, which ultimately ended in them looking more seriously at Di Canio.
But the 45-year-old was controversially sacked at the Amex Stadium in July after an acrimonious row following the club’s play-off semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace; the full details of the reasons why have never been made public.
During his time at Brighton he was assisted by former Tottenham defender Mauricio Taricco and the ex-full-back will be joining him at Sunderland, where Ball could also still have a part to play in the coaching set-up having been working with the Under-21s.
It was Poyet’s success with Brighton which earned him Premier League recognition. He won 86 of his 194 matches in charge and guided the Seagulls to the League One title in his second season before a tenth place finish in the Championship was followed with a play-offs spot.
Former Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper had a month on loan under Poyet two years ago on the south coast and, despite a reputation for having a volatile nature, he has given Sunderland’s new boss a glowing reference.
“I enjoyed my brief time at Brighton and Gus Poyet played a big part in that. He was very impressive,” said Harper, now at Hull City with former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce. “He will want Sunderland to play total football, playing out from the back beginning with the goalkeeper because he encourages his players to go out and express themselves.
“He wasn’t scared to let players know where they were going wrong or when they weren’t doing what he expected of them, but he was approachable and friendly and tactically astute with it. He would join in with training on a Friday afternoon - he wasn’t shy about doing a demo and he was still good, too - and sessions were hard work but enjoyable.
“He is a likeable man. I know that Sunderland’s players will like working with them and I could tell from the start that he was destined to go on and do a big job in the Premier League. He hoped to do that with Brighton, of course, but I’m not surprised that he’s getting his chance now.
“It feels like the North-East can chew managers up sometimes - I had about 300 of them during my time at Newcastle - but I think he’s got the character to do well. It certainly won’t faze him. When you’re a manager you want to be in the Premier League and he’ll relish the opportunity he’s been given.”
Ball had hoped to be given an opportunity to shine in the role himself, but Short has chosen a different route despite promising displays under the caretaker in defeats to both Liverpool and Manchester United.
Comments are closed on this article.