Paolo Di Canio’s tenure as manager of Sunderland came to its inevitable end after their 3-0 loss at West Brom over the weekend and we’re looking at a few of the key qualities needed in whoever replaces the fiery Roman on Wearside.
Relegation battling credentials
Sunderland’s next two Premier League matches are at home to Liverpool and Manchester United and if they lose both games, as they are expected to, then the climb back up to 17th place will start to look very steep.
Alan Curbishley is a big-priced outsider at 33/1 to take over, but his record of keeping Charlton in the Premier League for five seasons in a row is still cherished at the Valley, particularly considering they were relegated the following year and have not been back since.
However, it was his stunning rescue of West Ham in 2006/07 that should have Sunderland chairman Ellis Short checking Curbishley’s availability as he took the Hammers on a run of seven wins in their last nine league games to escape the drop on the final day of the season.
Transfer Market nous
Arguably the Italian’s biggest mistake was to bring in 14 players over the summer, of whom just five have any experience of the English top flight and stick a load of them in the side straight away.
Against Arsenal at home Valentin Roberge, Ondrej Celustka and (spot the household name) Modibo Diakite made up three-quarters of the Black Cats back-line, with the latter making his home debut for the club.
The new manager must have the gravitas to do what Di Canio could not and convince players of the calibre of Tom Huddlestone, who turned down Sunderland in favour of a move to Hull over the summer, to move to Wearside.
Steve McClaren, who has five years experience in Premier League management and a vast knowledge of the domestic scene after his doomed spell as England manager, is 14/1 to take over at the Stadium of Light.
A personal touch
At Sunderland, Di Canio replicated the dictatorial style that served him rather well when taking Swindon up to League One in his first season as a manager, but was reported to have fallen out with former captain Lee Cattermole and John O’Shea, who took over the armband during the summer.
The next manager has to be able to command the respect of the players, which suggests current caretaker Kevin Ball must come into contention if he can steady the ship over the next few weeks and he’s an interesting dark horse at 16/1 to get the job full-time.