Dick Advocaat may have turned down his advances – but Ellis Short cannot speak highly enough of the man who steered Sunderland to Premier League survival.
The Sundrland owner made it crystal clear to Advocaat that he was his number one option and held talks with him prior to the Under-21s’ win over Chelsea two-and-half weeks ago, and again after the matches at Arsenal and Chelsea.
He made a real impact and lifted the club with his experience and enthusiasmELLIS SHORT
“Although I am extremely disappointed, I understand and absolutely respect his decision,” said Short.
“In his brief time here he made a real impact and lifted the club with his experience and enthusiasm. We will always be grateful to him for what he achieved.”
Lee Congerton added: “I know it was a tough decision for Dick to make but he felt that he couldn’t commit to the intense rigours of club management on a longer-term basis and we respect his honesty.”
Congerton realises the pressure is now on him to land an alternative option while the clock is ticking, even though he has been making contingency plans for weeks.
With the close season noticeably short this year, Sunderland have only a month before they return to pre-season training, while as Advocaat alluded to, the club still need up to half-a-dozen summer signings.
Paul Clement had been on Congerton’s radar after the sacking of Gus Poyet and appointment of Advocaat last March, yet the Real Madrid assistant is on the verge of taking charge at Derby, while Sunderland are concerned by the 43-year-old’s lack of managerial experience.