Sunderland have taken the decision to sack manager Gus Poyet, as the North East club slide towards the bottom three of the Premier League.
The former Uruguay international, who played for both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, was installed at the Stadium of Light as Paolo di Canio’s successor in October 2013. At the time the Black Cats were bottom of the Premier League table having collected just one point from their opening five matches, yet he turned things around in some style and led them to a 14th place finish.
Amongst the victories Poyet enjoyed during his debut campaign on Wearside included home triumphs over Newcastle United and eventual title winners Manchester City, whilst they also won at Chelsea, Manchester United, Everton and completed the double over the Magpies. Not only this, but they progressed to the League Cup final where they lost to the English champions.
Poyet was given money to improve his squad during the summer and signed the likes of Jack Rodwell, a £10million arrival from Manchester City, Will Buckley from his former club Brighton & Hove Albion, Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon and Wigan Athletic’s Jordi Gomez. And in the winter Jermain Defoe, the England international, arrived to boost their return in front of goal.
However, it has been another disappointing season for Sunderland. Although they again recorded a win over their archrivals at St James Park there have been too many poor results, the latest of which was the 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa. This further tested the patience of the club’s supporters, and on Monday afternoon it was confirmed that the board had decided to issue Poyet with his P45.
Owner Ellis Short said in a statement: “I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season’s ‘great escape’ and cup final. Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed.”
Dick Advocaat, the experienced Dutch coach, has emerged as the early frontrunner to replace Poyet. The 67-year-old, who has had a spell in the UK when he coached Rangers from 1998-2002 during which time he won two league titles, is currently available having left his role with the Serbian national side last November. Sam Allardyce, a former Sunderland player, is also a contender, as he has an uncertain future at West Ham United where his contract expires at the end of the season.