Veteran coach Dick Advocaat has confirmed that Sunderland have asked him to extend his stay at the club after steering them clear of relegation. The 67-year-old will give them an answer next Thursday when he has had time to reflect on the offer from Black Cats? chairman Ellis Short.
Following a crushing 4-0 home defeat by fellow strugglers Aston Villa, Advocaat took over from Gus Poyet with only nine games remaining. Victories over Southampton and Everton proved pivotal as well as a precious victory over local rivals Newcastle. They did suffer an alarming 4-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace but a goalless draw on Wednesday night gave Sunderland the priceless point that they needed to secure their Premiership status for next season.
The Dutchman was reduced to tears at the final whistle at the Emirates Stadium but has already made it clear that it would take serious investment at the club to tempt him to stay on. He expects Sunderland to make money available to strengthen the squad after a poor season which has yielded just 38 points.
If he is not convinced, it seems highly unlikely that he would remain at the club with little more than a fight against relegation to look forward to. Advocaat was delighted with the response from the players in the closing weeks of the season but insists that the club must bring in some quality players in the summer.
Another factor is whether or not his family will welcome the continued pressure of football management at the top level. He had promised his wife that the Sunderland job would be the last, although it is not clear whether he specified how long he might stay at the Stadium of Light.
Advocaat’s emotional reaction to Sunderland?s survival has already earned him hero status on Wearside. He blamed assistant Bert van Lingen for triggering his outburst and explained it was the sense of relief more than anything else. It is quite remarkable that a man of his experience has been so moved by his short time at Sunderland, having twice been manager of the Dutch national team.
He has also managed South Korea, Belgium and Russia as well as Glasgow Rangers. A few eyebrows were raised at his appointment in March but he has made the most of his wealth of experience. Sunderland?s approach to extend his contract is perfectly understandable but they must be prepared to back up their words with hard cash.