McMenemy: 11 July 1985 - 16 April 1987
Following in the footsteps of the legendary Len Ashurst was Lawrence McMenemy who took over in July 1985.
Saltwell Park-born McMenemy’s much heralded arrival at Sunderland failed to produce the anticipated revival of the club’s fortunes.
Prior to returning to the North East – where he had played at Newcastle United and Gateshead – McMenemy had established Southampton as a leading First Division side using senior players whose careers he revived and extended.
McMenemy arrived at Sunderland ready for a fresh challenge, however he ignored the young players that had broken into the first team the previous season and selected his own experienced imports.
The first five games were lost without Sunderland scoring and there was only marginal improvement throughout the season with relegation narrowly avoided with a final-day win.
The next campaign - 1986-97 - saw the Lads enjoy a brief spell in the top six, but only four wins were managed in 23 games.
McMenemy departed Sunderland due to the bad run of results which saw Bob Stokoe return to the club, however he was unable to keep the Lads in Division Two and they were relegated to Division Three for the first time in their history.