Sunderland are enjoying fine form currently and have their sights firmly set on promotion but a key decision in November could have led to things being very different.
The dismissal of Jack Ross was perhaps a necessary step but the Black Cats were at one point contemplating a manager other than Phil Parkinson, who has proved an astute appointment after a worrying start of two wins in 14 games.
Sunderland were interested in Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough according to the man himself, as he suggested on The Totally Football Podcast:
“I think Sunderland made an inquiry when that vacancy came up a few months ago, but that didn’t go anywhere in the end and they got Phil Parkinson in.”
It is an interesting revelation and indicates that Stewart Donald was looking at managers with a lot of League One experience, with Clough and Parkinson also sharing the accolade of managing in the Championship as well.
There are other similarities between the pair as both have achieved promotions, though Parkinson has done so at a higher level, taking Bradford up from League Two and getting Bolton out of League One (as per Transfermarkt). From that, and the fact that Clough has recently experienced relegation from the second tier with Burton, it would seem that Donald made the right choice to bring in Parkinson, even if some fans were calling for his dismissal at the end of December.
The Black Cats boss has turned things around since then thanks to some astute management decisions.
He remained calm in the face of tremendous pressure, identified the problems with his team and provided the solution primarily through two key decisions, changing formation and transfer-listing Aiden McGeady. Parkinson is now frequently receiving praise from fans and it is likely that Donald doesn’t regret his decision not to pursue Clough, with the north-east outfit just four points off second-place with two games in hand.
What is your reaction to this revelation Sunderland fans, are you pleased the club decided against appointing Clough?
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