IT doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there in the end. There were times when Sunderland’s search for their ninth permanent manager in the last six years was in danger of lapsing into farce, but when Chris Coleman is pictured with a red-and-white scarf at the start of next week, the Black Cats can take satisfaction in a job well done.

Martin Bain deserves special praise, and having come in for some sustained criticism as a succession of potential candidates either distanced themselves from the position or found themselves shuffled into the background, Sunderland’s chief executive can point to Coleman’s appointment as evidence that he knows what he is doing after all. Amid a pool of flawed contenders, Coleman’s name stood out a mile.

That is not to say that the 47-year-old is without his faults. His two previous managerial jobs in this country, with Fulham and Coventry City, both ended in something of a mess, and he hardly set the world alight when he went abroad to manage at Real Sociedad and the Greek club AEL.

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He achieved great things with the Welsh national side, leading his nation to the semi-finals of last summer’s European Championships as they made their first appearance at a major tournament for 58 years, but it could be argued he was extremely fortunate to have taken over a squad containing one of the few world-class players in the European game. It hardly needs saying that Sunderland do not possess a Gareth Bale. They barely even boast a Hal Robson-Kanu.

Even so, Coleman’s stock rose significantly as Wales beat Belgium last summer, and in the immediate aftermath of the Euros, the former centre-half must have imagined his next club job would have come in the Premier League.

Admittedly, his star waned somewhat as Wales failed to make it to next summer’s World Cup in Russia, but he was still on Leicester City’s shortlist prior to their appointment of Claude Puel last month. Had a West Brom or a Watford been looking for a new manager in the next few weeks, it would not have been a surprise to see Coleman’s name mentioned.

As a result, when news of Sunderland’s interest emerged earlier this week, the initial thought was that a club at the bottom of the Championship had precious little chance of appointing a manager who considered himself top-flight material.

Why on earth would Coleman walk out of a secure job in charge of his country, with every chance of qualifying for the next European Championships, for the managerial madhouse at the Stadium of Light?

Presumably we will find out from the horse’s mouth at the start of next week, but one imagines Coleman has been attracted by the potential for radical improvement that exists on Wearside. It would be wrong to claim that Sunderland have ‘bottomed out’ when relegation to League One is a real possibility, but by the same token, if the club can be stabilised in the next few months, it is not hard to envisage it taking off again quickly as it did in similar circumstances under Roy Keane.

Back then, of course, Keane was able to splash the cash, and just as Bain has done plenty of due diligence on the managerial options available to him, so Coleman will surely have done his own homework when it comes to assessing what he is taking on.

He must have sought assurances about his January transfer budget, and will also have been keen to know exactly where Ellis Short stands when it comes to a possible sale of the club. The fact he has been satisfied with what he has heard can only augur well for Sunderland’s chances of pulling clear of trouble in the remainder of the season.

Coleman is set to earn three or four times what he was making with Wales if he keeps Sunderland in the Championship in the next six months, and in football as in any other walk of life, money talks. That said though, Sunderland’s next manager was perfectly settled in his family home in Winchester, bringing up his young family with his wife, Sky TV presenter Charlotte Jackson.

Even in the last couple of days, well-placed sources in Wales were claiming he would be extremely reluctant to give all that up. It has surely taken more than an extra nought on the end of his pay cheque to enable him to do that.

For Coleman, the Sunderland job provides an opportunity to prove once and for all that he is capable of building something special from relatively unappealing ingredients, and that his success with Wales was not down to Bale’s genius rather than his own. Get it right on Wearside, and he really will have proved his managerial mettle.

For Sunderland, the Welshman’s appointment provides a powerful statement that the club remains relevant. There have been times this season, at a half-empty Stadium of Light and in a press conference devoid of any interest from the national media, when it has felt as though Sunderland were a club dying a slow, drawn-out death.

Coleman’s arrival rewrites the narrative. While others saw decay and problems, he sensed potential and opportunity. He has already achieved the unthinkable once in his career, leading Wales to the last four of the second-biggest competition in the world. Sunderland supporters will be desperately hoping he can work his magic again.