CHRIS Coleman has a job on his hands.

Anyone with a predilection for Sunderland AFC knows that.

When Simon Grayson’s tenure ended after just 125 days, the club’s managerial merry-go-round lurched back into life again.

It’s a familiar feeling for Paul Shields.

The former Roker Park pie seller has seen a host of managers come and go, but it still doesn’t make the situation any more palatable.

“I can sum it up in one word: apathy,” said Mr Shields, who is an associate partner at accountancy firm Tait Walker.

“There’s a huge frustration with Ellis Short and the board with what is going on.

“I actually thought Simon Grayson would do an all right job.

“I didn’t expect great things, but I thought he would be able to stabilise things.

“But that’s not what happened.

“I felt a bit sorry for him, but he had to go.

“At some point, you have to say enough is enough.

“We need some good, young players coming through; the academy hasn’t done enough in terms of the volume for the club.

“We need to lower the age of the side.”

Mr Shields’ devotion to Sunderland runs deep, all the way in fact to the club’s days at Roker Park.

As a youngster, he lived just five minutes away from the ground and worked in the kiosks selling pies, pasties and cups of steaming Bovril to fans in the early 1990s.

If he was quick enough, he could even snatch some of the second-half, though he admits the job wasn’t the most stirring of endeavours.

He said: “It was grim, if I’m honest.

“I was at school at the time and a group of us would go down to the ground.

“One of them knew the people who ran the kiosks, so that’s how we got in.

“I would go in before the match, get my instructions, and go off to where I was based to get everything ready.

“There were no tills, so I had a wooden drawer for my change.

“The key was to cash up as quickly as possible, so I could watch as much of the second-half as possible.”

But it’s not just football that forms a big part of Mr Shields’ life.

He’s also a cricketer, and is returning to the captaincy fold.

Next year, as Whitburn first team take to the field, Mr Shields will be in charge.

The team plays in the North East Premier League, and although it’s the off season, Mr Shields is already hard at work on recruitment to bolster its sides for the 2018 campaign.

He’s played senior cricket for years, having followed in his father’s footsteps, and his accountancy background also means he can help as the club’s treasurer.

If that wasn’t enough, Mr Shields has his coaching badges, and looks after the under-11s.

He said: “Cricket is a huge part of my life.

“I’m a batsman and I also used to keep wicket too, but no amount of training can prepare you for doing that for 60 overs.”

“My highest score in a first-team match is 93, so part of the reason I’m playing on is to get that 100.

“It’s still burning away in my mind.”

But Mr Shields has other priorities beyond his battle with bowlers.

He’s focused on the growth of Tait Walker, which has expanded into Durham City.

The company says its new space in the Salvus House building, at Aykley Heads, can be a catalyst for fresh success, since it will complement existing sites in Newcastle, Teesside and Northumberland.

Bosses also believe it will strengthen the firm’s position as the region’s largest independent accountancy firm, by providing scope to further support existing clients and the wider Durham business community across areas such as manufacturing, construction and technology.

“It is going well,” said Mr Shields.

“We have been working with clients across Durham for many years, and continue to grow our offering in this area, especially in corporate finance and specialist tax.

“The Durham office is still fairly new, but with the work we have done so far, we are quite optimistic and it’s all about getting in front of people now.”

Five minutes with… Paul Shields

Favourite North-East building and why? I am not that religious, but Durham Cathedral is an amazing building. I watched the first Harry Potter film there and it was a brilliant atmosphere.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid? Selling pies and pasties at Roker Park. I got £8 for the day but got to watch the first 20 minutes of the match and as much of the second-half as I could after I’d cashed up.

What is the worst job you've had? I worked for a day at Villa Pop when I was 16 during the school holidays, delivering bottles of pop to shops and newsagents. I arrived at the factory at 6am and didn’t leave until 7pm. The bus I was meant to get home had finished, so I ended up walking back.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner? The starter would be king prawns cooked in garlic butter, followed by steak and chips. I would cheat on dessert and buy something in, and finish with cheese and biscuits.

What would your superpower be? I think the ability to time travel would be very useful.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party: Nelson Mandela, John Lennon, Peter Kay and Shane Warne.

Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much? My wife’s engagement ring. I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but it was a few months’ salary at the time.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why? I tend to follow sportsmen, and most are pretty reserved, although David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd is good.

Favourite book? I tend to read sporting biographies, but I did really enjoy The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown.

When did you last cry? Probably at the birth of my third child, my son William.

What is your greatest achievement? Being a father (to three great children) and a husband.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given? You don’t know what you don’t know.

Favourite animal and why? I am not a big animal lover and never really had pets, but we have new neighbours and they have a lovely cat that tends to hang around in our garden. He is very laid back and nothing seems to phase or scare him.

Most famous person on your mobile phone? I was involved in Steve Harmison’s testimonial year at Durham a few years ago, so probably him.

What was the last band you saw live? My father-in-law’s band George Shovlin and the Radars played at the cricket club where I play a few weeks ago, and they were great.

Describe your perfect night in: I tend to be out quite a lot over the summer and do enjoy staying in on a cold winter night. We usually spend a few hours watching TV with the kids before packing them off to bed and it is either a takeaway or steak and chips and a nice bottle of wine with my wife.

In another life I would be... I am a big cricket fan and as a child all I wanted to do was be a professional cricketer. However, I think the life of a professional golfer would be amazing.

Who would play you in a film of your life? I should say someone like Tom Hardy, but Peter Kay or James Corden would probably do a better job.

What irritates you? I don’t like rudeness.

What's your secret talent? I can clear a room in two minutes when I start singing.