Sunderland Receive Huge Boost In Head Coach Search

Sunderland have received a boost in their search for a new Head Coach following the announcement that Will Still has left French club Stade de Reims.

The 31-year-old has been heavily linked with the position at the Stadium of Light. He was touted as a potential replacement for Tony Mowbray in December, with speculation so rife that both he and the club were forced to deny the rumours.

Eventually, Michael Beale secured the role, although lasted just 12 games before he too found himself cast aside. Mike Dodds has led the team on an interim basis since, the third time he has taken temporary charge.

The Championship outfit’s stance has been consistent throughout. It has always been planned that Beale’s permanent successor would be named at the end of the season, which comes to a close this Saturday when they host Sheffield Wednesday. Interestingly, Sunderland have been linked with Owls’ Head Coach Danny Rohl.

Still has continued to be one of the frontrunners throughout the past couple of months, heightened by comments made to The Athletic in December:

“I would work for a Championship team without a problem. What I’ve now understood, I’ve now realised, is how important people are. And how important finding the right place to be is going to be for my career. And people who understand the way I work, because I’m a bit different.

“I’m a bit odd sometimes, but if there’s a Championship club that’s ambitious, that wants to work in the right way and be open and honest about things, and really try and push to get somewhere, then I would love to do that.”

The young coach has been widely praised for the job he has done at Reims, although they are winless in their last five. Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at Clermont Foot has proved to be his last outing, with a statement released earlier today announcing his departure. Communicated via official channels, Club President Jean-Pierre Caillot said:

“Stade de Reims would like to thank Will and Nicolas Still for their investment and all these beautiful emotions experienced together.

“At the heart of a unique Club project, known and recognized for its ability to reveal all talents, we are proud to have been able to contribute to the emergence of a coach who knew how to impose his convictions and his playing identity. Will was one of the actors in the new cycle initiated in 2018, and has undoubtedly enabled the SDR to take another step forward, particularly in the context of the internationalization of the locker room.

“Will, Nico, the big Red and White family thanks you and wishes you the best for the rest of your careers.”

Still expressed his thanks to the club, pinpointing last season’s 19-game unbeaten run as a particular highlight:

“I thank Stade de Reims, President Caillot and Mathieu Lacour for giving me this unique opportunity and for supporting me throughout my journey here. I will be eternally grateful to Stade de Reims as well as everyone involved directly or indirectly with the club.

“I would like to thank in particular all the players with whom I was able to work, all the technical, performance, analytical and medical staff as well as the stewards, but also and above all all the supporters of this wonderful club.

“Our 19-match unbeaten streak last season as well as the spectacular matches at Delaune will remain unique moments for me. Delaune and Champagne will always have a special place in my life and I will remain the number one supporter of the Rouge et Blanc.”

Writer’s View

The timing of the announcement will raise a few eyebrows, especially with Sunderland finishing their campaign on Saturday. It has been well documented that the club are hoping to make an appointment as close to the end of the season as possible, and this announcement will only increase the speculation.

Still is considered one of the brightest young coaches in world football and is widely tipped to go on to manage at the very top level. Despite his lack of experience in the English game, the Black Cats may be willing to take a punt after getting their last appointment drastically wrong. The Wearsiders are hoping to bring in somebody who can take them forward over the coming years and guide them back to the Premier League. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the coming days and weeks.

About Jamie Ward 676 Articles
Head of Writing

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