Gus Poyet reveals the moment he was axed by Sunderland

Gus Poyet
Gus Poyet

Gus Poyet has spoken publicly about the moment he was axed by Sunderland – and revealed he is desperate to get back into management.

The Uruguayan was given his marching orders in March after 18 months at the Stadium of Light with Sunderland involved in a relegation scrap.

Lee Congerton, Ellis Short and Gus Poyet

Lee Congerton, Ellis Short and Gus Poyet

He was replaced by Dick Advocaat who went on to save the club before resigning from his post this week leaving Sunderland looking for their sixth manager in the space of four years.

Poyet, in his column for Yahoo Sport, has spoken about his departure while expressing sympathy for axed Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

“Unlike Brendan whose situation was played out in the media, I had no real idea that I was going to lose my Sunderland job until the day it happened,” said Poyet.

“We’d lost 4-0 at home to Aston Villa, with all four goals coming in the first half.

“The mood was bad in the stadium, the result terrible, though we were still 17th and not in the relegation zone.

“I went to work on Monday morning as usual. A few people close to me asked: ‘Are you having a meeting today?’. That was the first inkling that it wasn’t going to be a normal day.

“A meeting followed soon after at the training ground. Sunderland’s chief executive, secretary and solicitor were there.

“I was dialled into the club’s American owner, Ellis Short. There were no pleasantries, there was no need. I was told that my contract was being terminated.

“It sounds hard and brutal, but it was done in a professional way. I have no complaints and only respect for those people I worked with.

“I then had a private chat with Short and went to my office.”

Poyet added: “As my brain absorbed the news, I took a shower, got changed and gathered my few belongings. The players were away, but the club called the captain John O’Shea and passed me the phone to tell him. It was a convivial phone call and we wished each other well. He would tell the players.

“Over the next few days, some players – but not all – would text to wish me well.

“That’s normal; I’ve been a player too and I’m not stupid enough to think that everyone was sad to see me go.

“Then I went to say goodbye to the people at the club, the canteen girls or groundsmen who I saw every day. That was hard, but more awkward for them. They didn’t know what to say to me, so I tried to make it easier for them and said ‘it’s football’.

“Then I got in my car with one of my assistants, Mauricio Taricco, and drove four hours home to London.

“Like Brendan, I wanted to get away and that’s exactly what I did.”

Poyet took over at Sunderland in November 2013 after the disastrous reign of Paolo Di Canio and guided Sunderland to the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley where they lost against Manchester City, while also masterminding the Great Escape before a poor run of results last season cost him his job.

He is now looking to get back into management.

“I returned to Sunderland three weeks after I’d left to gather my belongings from my apartment,” added Poyet.

“The dust had settled, mentally I was fine. I’ve not been back since, but I only wish them well.

“I also wanted to get back into football; I love it, I’m addicted to it. When I lost my job in March I thought: ‘I’ll wait until the summer’.

“Summer came and with it a few job offers from abroad which weren’t right for me.

“By the end of pre-season I was thinking: ‘Hmm. I’m not going to be with a club at the start of the season, it’s going to have to be after a colleague loses his job’.

“And that’s how it remains. Fortunately, being out of work doesn’t mean I can’t buy food, for people working at the top level in football get well paid.

“The phone has started to ring and it’s important for me to be ready to go.”