Dick Advocaat performs sensational U-turn to return as Sunderland manager
Published 04/06/2015 | 14:40
Dick Advocaat has signed a new one-year deal to become Sunderland's head coach after performing a sensational U-turn.
The 67-year-old Dutchman, who had turned down owner Ellis Short's offer of an extended stay at the Stadium of Light in the wake of his successful Barclays Premier League survival mission, has belatedly given the Texan and sporting director Lee Congerton the answer they wanted all along after a re-think.
Advocaat said: "After a lot of discussions with Ellis and Lee, they convinced me that I am the right man for the club.
"It was a great feeling to be part of Sunderland in the last few months.
"The experience was something very special and after talking with Lee, Ellis and of course my family, we all agree it is the right decision."
Advocaat was initially drafted in by the Black Cats in March with just nine games of the season remaining after they decided to dispense with the services of Gus Poyet.
He endeared himself to the red and white faithful almost immediately with a 1-0 derby victory over Newcastle in his second match in charge, and went on to claim 12 points from a possible 27, eventually securing safety with a game to spare following a 0-0 draw at Arsenal.
A deal for the former Holland boss to stay was put on the table before the final-day defeat at Chelsea, but having promised his wife his brief time on Wearside would be his last job as a club manager, he initially opted to walk away.
However, Short refused to take no for an answer and having promised to commit substantial funds towards yet another rebuilding mission, Advocaat simply could not resist the temptation to return.
A delighted Short said: "Dick's credentials in football are top-class and we saw what an impact his vast knowledge and experience had on our team and the club as a whole in just two months.
"Sunderland fans took him to their hearts and so did everyone at the club, so we are absolutely thrilled that he will be here longer term."
Short and Congerton had considered a series of other candidates to fill the position with Burnley's Sean Dyche having been installed as the bookmakers' favourite in the last few days.
However, their search is now over, for the time being at least, and they can concentrate on the task of reshaping a squad which has shown commendable battling qualities at the end of the last two campaigns, but proved deficient in other respects.
Congerton said: "Dick was always our number one choice and we were determined we weren't going to take 'no' for an answer. I have been in constant contact with him over the last two weeks and I'm absolutely delighted that he has agreed to return.
"In just a short space of time, he has bought into the club wholeheartedly and understands exactly what we need now in order to move forward. We have a lot of work to do to prepare for the season ahead, and that starts in earnest now."