Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain admits he feels the ‘weight of expectation’ on Wearside more than he ever did at Rangers.
Bain has endured a tough first 12 months at the Black Cats helm since joining the club last summer.
He’s already on to his third manager, having seen Sam Allardyce leave for England and David Moyes resign, while he’s presided over a raft of redundancies at the club and watched on as Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League.
Add to that the turmoil of the summer when owner Ellis Short was trying to sell the club, and it’s been a challenging period for the Scot.
Bain is used to pressure, having worked for a decade in similar roles at Scottish giants Rangers and Israeli outfit Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
But he admits the difference is that Sunderland’s poor form on the pitch has affected his job off it.
“I used to make the joke last season that if we got a win I’d go home and open the curtains,” said Bain in an interview with the Times.
“I do feel a weight of expectation. I realise I’m a focal point. When I drive into that car park, or if I’m in the city centre, you feel people looking at you, thinking, ‘Come on, help us be what we should be’.
“I’ve felt it more in this job than any other I’ve had. More than Rangers, because Rangers won.
“Change. It’s all I’ve done since I’ve arrived. We’ve had three managers and, unfortunately, nearly 70 people have left.”
Bain also revealed he has two aims for this season as Sunderland look to bounce back from the Championship.
“Promotion, obviously but the other is to put a smile on people’s faces,” he said. “That’s been lost.
“The criteria for a new manager wasn’t affordability but getting somebody who was going to roll their sleeves up and say ‘I’m having some of this.’ Simon wanted it.
“The club felt stagnant. We have to anchor our wonderful heritage, but we also have to evolve.”