Eight days after Dick Advocaat brought the next Sunderland manager betting market to life by announcing that he wouldn’t make his short-term stay at the Stadium of Light permanent, there is a new favourite for the job: Dick Advocaat.
The veteran Dutch coach is reported to have changed his mind by the same The Sun journalist who broke his initial appointment, and has turned the market on its head as a result. Having drifted all the way out to 400.0 upon “confirming” his departure, he is now a clear [1.3] frontrunner.
No obvious replacement revealed themselves in the period between the 67-year-old saying goodbye and hitting redial, with the most qualified candidate, [13.0] shot Sam Allardyce, rumoured to be reluctant to return to work so soon after leaving West Ham.
Others in the frame were Sean Dyche at [10.0], a gamble given that his sole top-flight campaign just ended in relegation, Malaga boss Bernd Schuster at [7.4], whose lack of Premier League previous would concern some, and Michael Laudrup at [20.0]. He stated that “I’m not going to accept an offer from a mid-table club in England or Spain”, so presumably won’t take a bottom-half role either.
It was speculated that the main reason behind Advocaat’s snub was his wife’s resistance, either due to a lack of enthusiasm for a full-time move to Wearside or because she wanted him to retire from club management 28 years on from assuming his first position.
Another consideration might have been how rare it is for someone to get to exit Sunderland on a high, with the recurring cycle throughout Martin O’Neill, Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet’s short reigns being mid-season arrival -> short-term improvement -> summer optimism -> dismal start -> dismissal.
It is seemingly the confidence of the Black Cats’ decision-makers and the majority of supporters that he has the ability to break that dispiriting pattern that has triggered his change of heart, with the expectation being that he will sign a one-year contract.
Indeed, it suddenly appears as though Sunderland will finalise their 2015/16 managerial plans before their neighbours. Newcastle are widely believed to have agreed to hire Steve McClaren as John Carver’s successor, but the former England gaffer is unlikely to be unveiled until next week.