Advocaat’s Sunderland U-turn down to famiy’s change of heart

Sunderland's manager Dick Advocaat
Sunderland's manager Dick Advocaat

Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland U-turn has stemmed from a change of heart with his family, rather than any extra financial incentives from the Black Cats.

Sunderland have got the man they wanted all along for the head coach position after Advocaat went back on his decision to retire from club management and agreed to pen a one-year contract with the Black Cats.

The club kept calling

Dick Advocaat

Since Advocaat rejected Sunderland’s initial offer to extend his stint at the Stadium of Light last week, sporting director Lee Congerton and chairman Ellis Short have remained in contact with the 67-year-old in the hope of forcing a change of heart.

But it wasn’t until the last 72 hours that Advocaat’s resolution began to waver after he had held informal talks with the Belgian FA at the start of the week over a potential second spell in charge of their national team.

It is understood that Advocaat’s decision had nothing to do with a heftier contract from Sunderland or an increased transfer fund.

As reported last week, Sunderland had already agreed to make Advocaat the highest-paid manager in the club’s history, plus back him with the resources to bring in fresh faces this summer.

It was after fresh discussions with his wife that Advocaat relented to Sunderland’s advances and the ex-Rangers manager decided to extend his stint at the Stadium of Light after his nine games last season kept the club in the Premier League.

“The club kept calling,” Advocaat told the press in his native Holland.

“The owner of the club, Ellis Short, continued to haunt me with a request to stay.

“The players continued to look to contact me and tell me to stay.

“I have decided to sign a new deal.

“They think I’m still fit enough and personally I also feel fine.

“And it’s a wonderful club.”

Advocaat’s U-turn will come as a welcome relief for Sunderland after no outstanding candidate had materialised to replace him at the helm.

Sunderland’s attention can now turn to reinforcing the squad in the transfer market after Advocaat claimed at the end of the season that the Black Cats required up to half-a-dozen “quality” signings capable of immediately improving the starting XI.

Short is thought to be in agreement about the need for quality, rather than quantity, this summer, and has made funds available.

“Sunderland should have a team which is good when the Premier League begins,” added Advocaat.

“The owner is willing to make resources available and it’s nice to be able to build a team now in preparation (for next season).”