THE MANAGERS: Alan Durban

Alan Durban: 12 June 1981 - 1 March 1984

Alan Durban entered the Sunderland hot seat in June 1981 following Michael Docherty’s caretaker spell ensured the Lads stayed in the top flight.

Hailing from Port Talbot, Durban was a skillful inside forward and midfielder with Cardiff City, Derby County and Shrewsbury Town.

Following his playing career, Durban turned to management and steered the Shrews from the Fourth to the Second Division before he moved onto manage Stoke City in February 1978.

Durban secured promotion to Division One the following season before he gave a debut to Paul Bracewell, who went on to become Sunderland's current assistant manager under Sam Allardyce.

Despite a rather dour image as a manager, Durban’s ability to fashion successful teams from modest means proved attractive to Sunderland chairman Tom Cowie.

However, Durban endured a tough start to the season which included eight consecutive games without a goal.

The improvements were gradual and took time but Durban made the Lads a hard team to beat and the 1983-84 season saw further improvements in the solidarity of the team, despite not having much flair.

But a break down in his relationship with the chairman saw Durban leave his post in 1984 before Bryan Stanley Robson took over in a caretaker role.

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