Advocaat leaves Black Cats short of a manager

Dick Advocaat (right) instructing Sunderland's Lee Cattermole. He quit yesterday with the team yet to win in the league this season.
Dick Advocaat (right) instructing Sunderland's Lee Cattermole. He quit yesterday with the team yet to win in the league this season. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Dick Advocaat has left his job as Sunderland's manager just four months after being persuaded to delay his retirement plans for a year.

The Dutchman, who was parachuted in to mastermind a nine-game rescue mission at the end of the last campaign, has walked away with the English football club sitting in 19th place in the Premier League.

The Black Cats have just three points after winning none of their opening eight fixtures following Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Ham at the Stadium of Light. They have not won since a victory at Everton in May.

"The Dutchman informed the chairman of his decision to step down from his role and departs the Stadium of Light with immediate effect," a club statement read yesterday.

TIME TO GO

I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time to turn things around.

DICK ADVOCAAT

It leaves Sunderland in a state of flux once more.

The club's assistant head coach Zeljko Petrovic has also quit, while sporting director Lee Congerton is also understood to be serving a period of notice after tendering his resignation.

But, as he departed, Advocaat said: "I want to thank everyone who has stood behind me. This is a very special football club with so many great people, but I feel it is the right time to do this - not for me, but for the club.

"I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time to turn things around - like we did last year. I am thankful to the chairman (Ellis Short) for understanding my feelings and I remain on good terms with everyone at the club."

Over the past few weeks, the 68-year-old had become increasingly frustrated with the quality of players available to him despite the club spending around £30 million (S$65 million) during the summer transfer window on eight players.

Short said: "I am truly saddened by Dick's decision, but I respect him for his honesty and for doing what he feels is right for the club.

"He was hugely respectful of the club in taking this decision and he acted 100 per cent in our best interests.

"It is also testament to his character that he has forgone any kind of a financial settlement, something which is very unusual in football."

The club will now search for their fifth manager in 21/2 years.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2015, with the headline 'Advocaat leaves Black Cats short of a manager'. Print Edition | Subscribe