So he’s gone then. Chris Coleman, the hero of Wales’ European Championship in 2016, has been sacked by Sunderland after they were relegated to League One.
He wasn’t even allowed the dignity of finishing the season. The new owners presumably wanting him out as a condition of the sale of the club.
For many Wales fans it was a strange decision to go there in the first place last year. To leave a Wales team which had just missed out on World Cup qualification and join a club freshly relegated from the Premier League and already in relegation trouble in the Championship.
Wales had promise. Ben Woodburn had announced himself and we got the first signs of how Ethan Ampadu and Dai Brooks would settle into the first team when Coleman tried them out against France and Panama. Many were already speculating about a changing of the guard and a bright new future for Wales.
The problems at the Stadium of Light were well documented; deeply in debt, selling off prized assets and a steady conveyor belt of managerial turnovers left many warning Coleman against heading north.
He knew there was no money for transfers, knew there were big issues and knew there were other jobs either available or becoming available in the Premier League. Around about the same time Leicester, West Brom, Everton and Swansea were all either looking, or expected to be looking for a change at the top to stop their relegation slide.
Yet, Sunderland it was and we all wished him well while having varying degrees of reservations about Ryan Giggs’ appointment as Wales manager.
If potential employers can separate Coleman from the Sunderland quagmire he should still have enough credibility after Wales to be taken seriously by some pretty big clubs.
In Sunderland, still, there are many fans who know exactly what they’ve lost:
So what next?
Mentioned very quickly after Coleman’s sacking. A Championship club in mid-table and currently being looked after by former player Brian Klugg (his third spell babysitting). Ipswich maybe ideal for Cookie to move onto. Another under-performing big(ish) club he could quietly turn around.
Nine managers in four years does not a happy club make. Perennially swinging between play off contenders and crisis. Coleman may not fancy another chaotic club. Especially one with such a colourful owner. But Leeds are a big side with passionate following and he could become a folk hero there if given enough room to manoeuvre.
Prior to leaving Wales Coleman said he fancied another shot at managing overseas. It’s not quite overseas but Rangers are massive and in dire need of someone to return them to be where they should be – being the only club in the SPL capable of challenging the dominance of Celtic.
Stoke or Southampton
Much of a muchness between the two of them. Both have gone through managerial changes already this season so would they really risk another change if they slip through the trapdoor?
As for their chances of returning? Providing Southampton stop being a feeder club for Liverpool they may have a chance of returning quickly.
Stoke know how to scrap their way through and out of a tough league. Or at least they did. A move to the Potteries would see Coleman reunited, at least temporarily, with Joe Allen who would surely leave straight away because he’s just too good to not be in the Prem.
Hmmmmm. Hometown club, hugely loved there, the city that shaped the man we know. But he’s never really shown any great interest in it. Paul Clement was on the verge of heading for the trapdoor when Coleman was looking around but nothing came of it. A sentimental choice, but unlikely.
Steady now. Give the guy a chance.
Whatever happens and wherever he chooses to go, we wish you all the best Cookie.
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