Sunderland are once again looking for a new manager. Following the humiliating 6-0 defeat to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus decided to sack Lee Johnson. There will be no shortage of applicants for the vacant Sunderland manager’s job with some high-profile names being linked with the position.
We look at just six of those in contention to take on Black Cats’ project and to get the promotion out of League One that they are desperate for.
The Top Six Contenders Vying for the Sunderland Manager’s Job
Vacant Sunderland Manager’s Job Attracting Much Interest
Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus spoke to Talksport on Tuesday to discuss the vacant Sunderland manager’s job. He said: “Yesterday was the last day of the transfer window so we prioritised getting those last two signings that we made, but the process has definitely started since early this morning.
“We’ll give it the time it takes to get the right candidate. We’re working on it and speaking to many people. We’ve had huge interest from all over the world, every country to be honest. We were overwhelmed, and we’ll now run a diligent process.”
The Top Six Contenders
The Favourite: Roy Keane
Roy Keane managed Sunderland after retiring from his playing career and led the club from the bottom of the Championship to title winners in the same season. He also kept them in the Premier League before departing under a cloud. He has since been quoted as saying that he believes he should still be Sunderland’s manager.
A fan-favourite, Keane would be an overwhelmingly popular choice on Wearside and should he be appointed it would bring huge excitement and positivity to a club desperate for promotion.
The Surprise Contender: Patrick Kisnorbo
Kisnorbo is the current manager of Australian side Melbourne City had has impressed with the work he has done at the club. In May 2021, he led the team to their first-ever trophy and shortly afterwards their first-ever league title. A manager who demands a high level of work rate and instills a self-belief into his young team could be a wise choice for Sunderland due to their current policy of bringing in mainly youthful, hungry players to the first team.
Neil Lennon, who used to manage Celtic, has emerged as another possible candidate according to the Northern Echo.
An old rival of Lennon’s, Ally McCoist, who played for Sunderland in the early 1980s before moving to Rangers has backed Lennon for the job. Speaking on Talksport, he said: “It would be great to see him back in, however, bizarre surroundings, absolutely bizarre.
“Where were they sitting, third? And Lee Johnson (is sacked), really strange. However, if Neil gets it, the very, very best to him as obviously, that’s my old team.”
Lennon has been out of football since February of last year when he left Celtic. He now appears ready to return to the managerial world.
Former Chelsea and England captain John Terry became an early favourite with the bookmakers when the Sunderland job became available. Terry is looking to take his first step into management having previously been an assistant at Aston Villa.
However, he has recently returned to Chelsea to work at their academy, and so another move for the 41-year-old seems unlikely. Terry would also be a surprise appointment due to his lack of both managerial experience and knowledge of the EFL. He would, however, command respect in the dressing room right off the bat due to his accomplishments in the game.
Recently sacked by Hull City following their takeover, Grant McCann knows League One well having led the Tigers to the title last season. He has also spent a successful spell at Doncaster Rovers. McCann is a strong contender according to the Sunderland Echo.
Out of a job and experienced in achieving promotion from League One, McCann could be the safe choice for Sunderland. Not as high profile as some of the other contenders but a manager who could certainly get the job done.
According to the Chronicle, 73-year-old Neil Warnock has contacted Sunderland with the view of filling the vacant manager’s job.
A promotion specialist having done so successfully on an incredible eight occasions during his career, the much-travelled manager could be interested in taking on the Black Cats job on a short-term basis in the hope of adding another promotion to his record and then handing over to someone else.
Warnock has been linked with the Sunderland job previously, most notably in 1992 but nothing ever came of these rumours.
The Englishman left Middlesbrough in November but appears to have no intention of retiring just yet. A manager of vast experience, he could be an ideal short-term appointment to get Sunderland their coveted promotion.