Chris Coleman responsible for relegation, says last man to send Sunderland into third tier
Chris Coleman must take responsibility for Sunderland's relegation to League One.
That's the view of former Republic of Ireland international Tony Cascarino - whose goals sent Sunderland into the third tier for the only other time in their history back in 1987.
Coleman was named Black cats boss in November, succeeding Simon Grayson who was sacked after just one win from his first 15 Championship games.
After Coleman suffered defeat against Aston Villa in his first game in charge, Sunderland then won three of their next seven games, before also beating Hull City in January, to hint at a revival.
However, they have won just once in their last 16 matches and were relegated to League On at the weekend after defeat at home to Burton Albion.
While many fans point the finger at absent owner Ellis Short, Cascarino insists Coleman is to blame.
Writing in The Times, he said: "Despite the clear off-field problems, Chris Coleman has to take responsibility for their relegation.
"They have won only five of 27 league games since he took over and if they want to go straight back up next season they need to get rid of players such as Aiden McGeady and Lamine Kone, who are talented but who think that by playing for Sunderland they are doing the club a favour.
"They need to find more players with great attitudes like Lee Cattermole, who want to improve the club's fortunes."
Cascarino was the Gillingham hero back in 1987 when they beat Sunderland in a play-off to send the Black Cats into the old Third Division.
He added: "The previous time they dropped to the third tier, I'm sure they will have blamed me. I scored five goals for Gillingham in a two-legged play-off in 1987, and we won on away goals after drawing 6-6 on aggregate."