So, after 18 games, 15 of them in the Championship, Simon Grayson has gone. It was a 3-3 draw with basement boys Bolton Wanderers that sealed his fate as Sunderland manager, meaning the crisis-ridden Black Cats are now on the lookout for a ninth new boss in just six years.
As The Chronicle point out, however, Sunderland do not have the funds to pay any compensation, meaning Grayson’s replacement will either be a manager out of work or an untested, inexperienced ‘name’ appointment that carries a huge deal of risk.
BetVictor installing ‘Super’ Kevin Phillips as the 4/1 frontrunner suggests the latter is most likely. The former Sunderland hero, Premier League Golden Boot winner in 1999/2000, is a highly respected coach but has never taken on the top job yet in his post-playing days.
And there would hardly be a tougher place for the former Derby County and Leicester assistant to start than a Sunderland side riddled with debt, without any funds for January transfers, under pressure from a disillusioned fanbase and stuck with an owner who is desperate to sell.
The term ‘poison chalice’ may be a little dramatic but Phillips taking the Sunderland job would be something akin to a teetotaller entering the world of alcohol via a shot of Russian premium vodka.
Understandably, Sunderland fans have been left divided by Phillips potential return to Wearside. He’s a club legend but now is not the time for sentimentality.
Phillips or Ball— fatringer (@fatringer) October 31, 2017
Can't afford to get anyond else and nobody else would even consider it #safc
Phillips would be mental to take it, but it's worth a call. In reality we'll probably go for Lambert. Safe option, but so uninspiring. #SAFC— Joe Hodge (@HodgeSAFC) October 31, 2017
We aren’t stable enough for someone like him to come into his first job I’m afraid— Dan (@dj85ftm) October 28, 2017
I wouldn’t wish the job on him,think too much of him. Until Short goes,no manager will get the money and support they need to build the team— hilary fawcett (@bestboomer) October 28, 2017
He’d give the place an instant lift and get the fans backing.— Lee Barker (@LBarks72) October 28, 2017
Needs someone of the keano mould. Discipline. Respect.— John Ridley (@Ridderz86) October 28, 2017
I don’t think he’s right for us at the minute, Stan. Although him and Kevin Ball as his #2 would be something I can get behind.— Addae Kony MH370 (@MrLukeBooth1) October 28, 2017
Wouldn't want him too tarnish his reputation coming here with this regime in place— Michael Napier (@micknapiersafc) October 29, 2017
I would welcome Philips with open arms he's a Sunderland legend and always will be— Geoffrey Gibson BSc (@geoffreygibson1) October 28, 2017
If he's done his badges then certainly - my Mackem mates would welcome Supa -Kev with open arms, would give a great club a great lift.— Bob Sills (@bob_sills) October 28, 2017