Monday 19 March 2018

Advocaat U-turn delights Black Cats

Dick Advocaat reversed his earlier decision and has now agreed to stay on as Sunderland manager
Dick Advocaat reversed his earlier decision and has now agreed to stay on as Sunderland manager

Luke Edwards

Dick Advocaat stunned Sunderland by agreeing to remain as head coach for at least another season, just a week after telling them he wanted to retire.

The Dutchman had told club owner Ellis Short he could not commit to the club a few days after saving them from relegation. Short had been led to believe the former Rangers manager wanted to stay as he had been talking so positively to the American about what needed to be done to avoid another battle for survival.

Director of football Lee Congerton was so confident that he did not have a shortlist drawn up for other candidates when Advocaat informed them he would keep a promise made to his wife to retire from club management. But Advocaat changed his mind following another plea this week from Congerton who has promised there will be a lot of money to spend this summer.

Although it is possible Advocaat agreed only to sign a 12-month rolling contract after learning he would not get the chance to take over the Belgium national team, it is excellent news for the Wearside club.

It is understood Advocaat's decision to commit himself to at least another 12 months at the Stadium of Light was also influenced by the fact several players - including captain John O'Shea and striker Jermain Defoe - contacted him to express their sadness over his decision to leave.

"After a lot of discussions with Ellis and Lee, they convinced me that I am the right man for the club," said Advocaat. "They kept on asking me to stay. 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 brought in on a short-term contract in March after Sunderland sacked Gus Poyet following a 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa. They collected 12 points from a possible 27 under Advocaat, which was enough to guarantee their place in the top flight with a game to spare.

Congerton went back to him at the start of the week because he knew Advocaat had wanted to stay and had turned it down only as the result of the promise to his wife that he would not take another club job.

"Dick was always our No 1 choice and we were determined we weren't going to take 'no' for an answer," said Congerton.

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