A Love Supreme: Coleman provides cause for optimism

Us Sunderland supporters haven’t had much to shout about so far this season, frustrating results and performances see us sitting bottom of the Championship as we approach late November.
 
However, one standout moment gives me hope that with an injection of energy from a new manager our fortunes could turn around.
 
The moment I’m referring too occurred at Griffin Park as the lads left the field at half-time, the ovation they received was spine tingling, the entire away end shouted themselves hoarse and a cry of 'WE ARE SUNDERLAND' went up.
 
When we re-emerged for the second half the roar was such that you would be forgiven for thinking we were coming out onto the pitch to be awarded with the league title, not merely being 3-1 up away at a struggling Brentford side whilst sitting second bottom of the league.
 
It was one of those moments that remind you why you love Sunderland. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you what happened next, but in that moment there was real feeling of unity.
 
This was evident again on Saturday, as we pushed for a winner, there was sustained cry of 'Ha’way The Lads' and the atmosphere was better than it’s been at home for a while.
 
Despite our woes there is still a determination amongst fans to get fully behind the team and with a few positive results the vibe around the city and the club will be much improved.
 
This is why the appointment of Chris Coleman excites me, I understand people having certain reservations, but when it comes to analysing managers I don’t find it particularly helpful to look at their early career too much.
 
After all, Dick Advocaat had a UEFA Cup Winners medal under his belt from his time in Russia, David Moyes seemed perfect for Sunderland from the outside looking in. But a look at either manager’s career immediately prior to arriving on Wearside would suggest that despite an impressive CV they were not the men to bring success to the club.
 
In contrast, Chris Coleman’s stock has rarely been higher, despite failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, he is idolised by the majority of Welsh fans and there were chants of 'Chris Coleman, we want you to stay' during his last match in charge.
 
What he achieved with his national side in the run up to and during Euro 2016 was remarkable and there are similarities between that team and the one he inherits at Sunderland.
 
Leadership and togetherness are two qualities that he showed in abundance whilst at Wales and this is something we are crying out for. Speaking at an Oxford Union Q&A, he insisted that the 'together stronger' slogan went beyond marketing platitudes.
 
He talked about fostering that mentality over a period of time and generating belief in the camp and with the fan base. The proof was certainly in the pudding as Wales soared up the World rankings and reached the Euro 2016 semi-final.
 
The Welsh side he inherited was shell shocked by the tragic death of Gary Speed, crowds were still relatively low and there was a feeling of despondency towards him and the team. But by the time he left, the country was buzzing and they were playing in front of packed houses. If he replicates that here, he will be a very popular man.
 
Coleman has often reflected on the hard times he endured in the early days to make him a stronger and better manager. From his early interviews it is clear he is highly enthusiastic about the Sunderland job and feels he is up to the task.
 
He has already announced his intention to move himself and his family to the area and his decision to come here so soon after leaving Wales speaks volumes about his mentality and flies in the face of media pundits who suggests we are a poisoned chalice. He is fully aware of the magnitude of the job but has still decided to take it on.
 
Sam Allardyce showed that this club is far from unmanageable and if Coleman can sort out our defensive issues and create a positive atmosphere around the place, the sky’s limit.
 
Managers such as Neil Warnock have shown that in the Championship you don’t have to be a master tactician to succeed and I still firmly believe this squad is much better than its current league position.
 
Sunderland may feel like a club in crisis at the moment, but as we all know with togetherness and momentum we can achieve great things, just look at the last time we were promoted under Roy Keane.
 
Bob Stokoe once said, 'I didn't bring the magic. It was always here. I just came back to find it'.
 
And hopefully Chris Coleman can be the man to make us proud of our great club once more, and bring back the magic.


The views expressed within this article are the views of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of Sunderland AFC.

ALS run supporters coaches to all of Sunderland’s away games from the Stadium of Light - click here for more information.

Back to top