Dick Advocaat – Panic Appointment or Saviour of Sunderland?


Sunderland rid themselves of Gus Poyet a few days ago, and within 24 hours ex  PSV, Zenit and Holland coach Dick Advocaat was appointed on a short term deal. However, many have pointed out he has always had the rub of the green – always been at top clubs, always had the pick of the best players. He has never been in a dogfight with a back four that includes Wes Brown and John O’Shea. So – the question is, can he actually save Sunderland?

Advocaat won titles with PSV, Zenit and Rangers – as well as a few others. He managed South Korea, Belgium and Serbia, as well as Russia and the UAE. Between all those, several stints in Germany and Holland – including AZ a couple of times. However – he never spends long in these jobs. He lasted 4 games before resigning when managing Serbia a few months ago. While managing Belgium and AZ at the same time, he ended up sacked because he was trying to get the gig in Russia, managing the national team – which he got, and left AZ too, who were not too happy.

After failing to get out of the group stage at Euro 2012, he left, again. He returned to PSV, lasted a season, failed to win the title and retired from club management, only to go back on that and manage AZ again – whom he left after about 9 months to manage Serbia (where he lasted 4 games, leaving them bottom of their Euro 2016 qualifying group). As manager of Holland, in both stints he only managed a win ratio of 55 and 57%. The only clubs where his win ratio exceeded 60% was at Rangers (who couldn’t?) and PSV twice – again no real achievement given the quality of the Eredivisie.

Even at Zenit, where he was given a blank chequebook – only about 48% in his near-3 seasons. Since his management career began is 1989, he is now on to his 18th club/job, which tells you all you need to know – on average he hangs about for a season or less – 2 games for UAE, 4 for Serbia, 5 for Belgium, 18 for Monchengladbach, 20 for AZ and 21 for South Korea – and probably at best 10 or so at Sunderland.

He has never achieved anything outside of the poorer leagues (no disrespect to those clubs, of course) – 4 medals in Scotland, 4 in Russia and 4 in Holland. The UEFA Cup in 2008 probably his best. All three teams he has been managing either one of the best two, or in Zenit case a team where he could spend what he wanted. My question is how he is going to fare with a very poor team, with not a lot of talent. My thinking is Ellis Short wanted a short-term, short fix, and in Advocaat – to me it seems they couldn’t find anyone else.

To relate it to a football club – you could see it like this – He is a big name, a well travelled manager who has managed all over the world and won titles. But like a football club who has been relegated and not quite nor probably never will make it back to the top division, could we perhaps compare him to a Lecce, Murcia or Zaragoza? Short has picked him based on his achievements from yesteryear!

In short, Ellis Short has taken a punt on a household name and put him in a club who are staring relegation in the face. He has no experience in the Premier League and is 67, so not getting any younger (actually the oldest manager in the league). He retired from club management in 2013 when leaving PSV – and I really get the feeling if this goes badly, he will again once Sunderland are relegated. You can get odds of around 6/4 on Sunderland going down, and with only 9 games to go – and West Ham, Southampton, Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal among others to face, and only a point off the relegation zone – I really don’t think they will get out of this mess this time around.