CHRIS COLEMAN has joined Sunderland because he did not want to go through his career ‘never having managed a big club’.

Coleman was formally confirmed as the Black Cats’ new manager yesterday afternoon after signing a two-and-a-half year deal at the Stadium of Light.

He joins a club rooted to the foot of the Championship table after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Millwall set a new Football League record of 20 consecutive home matches without a victory, and most neutrals have questioned the wisdom of his decision to move to a club that has gone through eight permanent managers in the space of six years.

Coleman could have remained in his previous position in charge of Wales, and was also offered an opportunity to take over at Scottish Premier League side Rangers at the end of last week.

However, having listened to Martin Bain’s plans for Sunderland at the end of last week, the 47-year-old is convinced he is capable of transforming the club’s fortunes.

“Someone has to turn this club around,” said Coleman, who will take charge of his first game as Black Cats boss at Aston Villa tomorrow. “Someone is going to do it.

“Sooner or later, this club will start climbing again and playing in front of a full house again – get the city rocking and rolling again. I want that be me. You can go through your career as a manager and never manage a big club. I always wanted to sample that, to have that experience, and here I am.

“Okay, we are bottom of the league. That is the reality. You get on with it, deal with it. It is still a big club. I knew it would be a big challenge, and I don’t have a magic idea that will turn it round like that.

“I work in a certain way. I will need all the supporters, players, staff, everybody to come with me on this. Sooner or later it will start turning, I am pretty sure. When it does, it is such a big club when you gather momentum, it is hard to slow it down, but the start is always the toughest part.

“When an opportunity came round to manage a big club like Sunderland, I was never ever going to say no to that.”

Coleman took charge of his first training session at the Academy of Light yesterday morning, with his assistant, Kit Symons, having watched Saturday’s draw, which featured two dreadful howlers from goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter.

Sunderland have only won one of their 17 league matches this season, and the former Fulham and Coventry insists he has walked into his new job with his eyes open.

He is aware of the problems he is inheriting, but insists this is no time for his players to be feeling sorry for themselves. He has challenged his new squad to prove their mettle, and is ready to use the January transfer window to ship out anyone who is not prepared to roll up their sleeves and fight for the cause.

“We all defend, we all attack,” said Coleman, in an interview with Sunderland's official website. “I had a chat with the players (yesterday) and said that it is for other people outside to talk. It is about getting three points and winning, that’s obvious, but what we need to do is focus on performances.

“It is about accountability, very, very simple. We all attack, we all defend, we all work with each other. You’re in or you’re out. If you’re committed, you’re in, if you’re not, you’re out. You can’t pretend, we’ll find out pretty quickly.

“Whoever is not will go and play football somewhere else. If this challenge is too big for them, they need to move on. We don’t need shrinking violets, that’s for sure. It’s not about talent, that’s never enough.

“We’ll find out soon enough who wants to take the next step with Sunderland. Once we do that, we can start planning and moving forward. You look at the league and where we are, and it is a daunting challenge, but one we’re capable of.”

This time last week, Coleman was still considering staying with Wales, but his plans changed when the Welsh FA were unwilling to meet his demands.

Having led Wales to the semi-finals of last summer’s European Championships, he felt he was in a position to oversee a radical restructuring of Welsh football. When it became clear that was not going to happen though, he quickly concluded it was time to move on.

“Having achieve what we had achieved, I thought to take it on to the next level with Wales, I needed to work slightly differently,” he said. “The powers that be in Wales saw it slightly differently to me.

“In my experience, it was the right time for me to say, ‘Okay, it was as far as I was going to take it’. Then pretty quickly, the opportunity came about with Sunderland. Martin came to where I live, and I agreed to join.”

Coleman was praised for creating a powerful team bond during his time with Wales, and with confidence on Wearside understandably at rock bottom, his man management will be severely tested in the next few weeks.

He experienced tough times at the start of his Welsh tenure though, and is adamant the scale of the task he has taken on does not faze him.

“You earn togetherness and team spirit through sticking together in tough times,” he said. “You don’t get it when you’re 3-0 up on a sunny day. Everyone is friendly then, aren’t they?

“You don’t get team spirit by going out and having a few drinks either, that kind of spirit is fleeting. It is coming through tough times, then you find out who sticks their head above the parapet and who shrinks away.

“We weren’t always in semi-finals with Wales. We were getting our backsides slapped once or twice, me in particular, falling flat on my face, nearly losing my job, but you find out who is around you then.

“We may have some tough times ahead of us, and that is where the togetherness comes from. A club of this stature, if we can get it going, then there is really, really exciting things that can happen here.”