Chris Coleman relishing the challenge of turning around Sunderland

Chris Coleman says the opportunity to manage such a big club as Sunderland and be the one to transform its fortunes was too good to turn down.

Monday, 20th November 2017, 6:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 4:45 am
Chris Coleman pictured after being named as the new Sunderland manager.

The 47-year-old will lead Sunderland against Aston Villa at Villa Park tomorrow night after signing a two-and-a-half-year deal.

Sunderland currently prop up the Championship and are four points adrift of safety ahead of their trip to take on a side riding high in the play-off places under former Black Cats boss Steve Bruce.

While former Wales boss Coleman admits that he doesn’t have a magic wand, he is determined to do all in his powers to get the Black Cats on the rise again.

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“Someone has to turn this club round, someone is going to do it,” said Coleman.

“Sooner or later this club will start climbing again and playing in front of a full house again – get the city rocking and rolling again.

“I want that to be me.

“You can go through your career as a manager and never manage a big club, I always wanted to sample that, to have that experience and here I am.

“Okay, we are bottom of the league.

“That is the reality. You get on with it.

“Deal with it. It is still a big club.

“I knew it would be a big challenge and I don’t have a magic idea that will turn it round like that.

“I work a certain way. I will need all the supporters, players, staff, everybody to come with me on this.

“Sooner or later it will start turning, I am pretty sure.

“When it does, it is such a big club when you gather momentum it is hard to slow it down, but the start is always the toughest part.

“When an opportunity came round to manage a big club like Sunderland, I was never ever going to say no to that,” he told the club website.

Coleman arrives on the back of six memorable years as Wales boss including an incredible run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

After deciding to leave Wales, and with Coleman keen to get back into club management Sunderland presented the perfect opportunity.

Coleman added: “Having achieved what we had achieved, I thought, to take it on to the next level with Wale,s I needed to work slightly differently. The powers that be in Wales saw it slightly differently to me.

“In my experience, it was the right time for me to say ‘OK, it was as far as I was going to take it’.

“Then pretty quickly the opportunity came about with Sunderland.”

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain travelled to Coleman’s house to secure the deal, the pair speaking at great length.

“Martin came to where I live and I agreed to join Sunderland,” added Coleman.

“The set-up here is fantastic, amazing.

“It is all in place, I am quite sure managers before me have said the same thing.

“It is all in place except what happens on the pitch.

“We have to make sure we get that right.”

Coleman, who has previously managed Fulham, Coventry City and Real Sociedad at club level, admitted the last few days had been a ‘mad rush’.

He added: “We have a lot of work to do, but I am thrilled and very grateful to be given the chance to lead this great football club and try to slow down the descent first of all, find a footing and then start building.”

Bain says Coleman was the club’s ‘clear first choice’ after a thorough recruitment process which took the best part of three weeks.

Bain added: “The football club has conducted a thorough process over the last three weeks to identify the best manager for the job, before and after which Chris was the clear first choice.

“We are delighted that he and Kit Symons, his assistant manager, have joined us, and are now focused on working together to get the football club moving in the right direction.”