May 27, 2024

Sunderland ought to consider revising their approach to finding a new head coach, suggests Phil West. While he advocates maintaining certain operational methods, he advocates for greater flexibility in recruitment, extending that flexibility to the coaching staff as well. Reflecting on Mark Robins’ success with Coventry City, West acknowledges his effectiveness and suggests that Sunderland could benefit from a similar caliber of leadership.

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In the interim, Mike Dodds is steering the ship, but West dismisses the idea of him as a permanent solution, citing his lack of tactical prowess, authority, and experience. Instead, he argues for widening the parameters of the search for a new coach, aiming for someone capable of achieving promotion to the Premier League and sustaining competitiveness in the division.

West advocates for a refined, honed, and fine-tuned approach rather than a complete overhaul. He suggests that potential candidates might be deterred by perceived organizational chaos at Sunderland and calls for swift rectification and self-criticism from decision-makers.

West highlights the importance of finding the right fit, suggesting someone like Steve Cooper as an example, but acknowledges the potential challenge of aligning experienced candidates with Sunderland’s current ethos. He urges Kristjaan Speakman, responsible for coaching appointments, to prioritize the club’s long-term interests over his own authority.

Despite setbacks during the 2023/2024 campaign, West remains steadfast in his belief that Sunderland remains an attractive prospect for head coaches. However, he stresses the need for the next appointment to be a significant upgrade, allowing the new coach space to make their mark and revitalize the team after a disappointing season.

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