List of Sunderland A.F.C. managers

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Peter Reid, manager of Sunderland from 1995 to 2002, gained the club's highest league finish since 1955. Peter Reid Sunderland 1998small.jpg
Peter Reid, manager of Sunderland from 1995 to 2002, gained the club's highest league finish since 1955.

Sunderland Association Football Club was founded in September 1880 as Sunderland and District Teachers Association Football Club. [1] After turning professional in 1886, the club appointed Tom Watson as their first manager, and under Watson the team won the Football League First Division three times in four seasons. [2] The percentage of games won under Watson remains the highest of all time for a Sunderland manager. Watson left to manage Liverpool and was replaced by Robert Campbell, but the new manager failed to continue the success of his predecessor. The next three managers, Alex Mackie, Bob Kyle and Johnny Cochrane, each won the First Division title while at the club. Kyle's 817 games in charge, spread over 19 full seasons either side of the First World War, make him Sunderland's longest-serving manager. [3] Cochrane led the club to their first FA Cup victory, beating Preston North End 3–1 in the 1937 final. [4] The closest they had come in previous seasons was as losing finalists in 1913 under Kyle. [5]

Contents

After Cochrane, no manager won a trophy until Bob Stokoe led the team to their second FA Cup with a 1–0 win over Leeds United in the 1973 FA Cup Final. [6] Stokoe took Sunderland into European competition for the first time in their history, but they were knocked out in the second round of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup by Sporting Clube de Portugal. [7] Len Ashurst led Sunderland to their first League Cup final, which they lost 1–0 to Norwich City, but relegation brought him the sack at the end of the season. [8] [9] Under Lawrie McMenemy, Sunderland were relegated to the Third Division for the first time in their history. [10] Following this, Denis Smith was named as manager, and saw the club back into the Second Division. [11]

Peter Reid brought Sunderland to the Premier League for the first time in their history in the 1996–97 season, but they were relegated in their debut season. [12] The team progressed as far as the Division One play-off final in 1998, drawing 4–4 after extra time before losing 7–6 on penalties, [13] and went one step further the following season, winning promotion as champions with a record total, at that time, of 105 points. [14] Still led by Reid, they went on to achieve their highest place finish in the Premier League, finishing seventh in two consecutive seasons, and narrowly missed out on a UEFA Cup place. [15] In 2002–03, Sunderland had three different managers, with Reid, Howard Wilkinson and, towards the end of the season, Mick McCarthy; the club ended that season with a then record low total of 19 points. [15] Under McCarthy, a third-place finish in the Championship earned Sunderland a place in the 2003–04 play-offs, only to lose to Crystal Palace in the semi-finals; [16] in 2004–05, they were promoted as champions, clinching the title with a 2–1 win over West Ham. [17] In March 2006, McCarthy was sacked in a season where Sunderland gained just 15 points, breaking their previous record, with former player Kevin Ball taking over as caretaker manager for the remaining games. [18] Following a takeover of the club, incoming chairman Niall Quinn acted as manager until Roy Keane's appointment three weeks into the 2006–07 season. [19] Keane went on to win the Championship title in his first season of management. [20] After keeping the side in the Premier League, he resigned in December 2008 and Ricky Sbragia eventually assumed the role after a spell as caretaker. [21] [22] Sbragia resigned immediately after the final match of the 2008–09 season, when Sunderland had achieved survival in the Premier League. [23] Wigan Athletic manager Steve Bruce was appointed as his successor in June 2009. [24] Having spent two-and-a-half years as manager, Bruce was sacked on 30 November 2011. [25] Martin O'Neill, a boyhood fan of the club, was appointed as manager on 3 December 2011. Sunderland's form soon took off, picking up 27 points in O'Neill's first 18 league games in charge, as well as reaching an FA Cup quarter-final. However, the team underperformed during the 2012–13 season, and on 30 March 2013, O'Neill was sacked. The following day on 31 March 2013, Paolo Di Canio was appointed on a 2+12-year contract. Di Canio was sacked less than six months later with Sunderland bottom of the Premier League. [26]

Key

Managers

As of 26 March 2021. Only professional, competitive matches are counted, including; League, FA Cup, League Cup and other cup competitions. Dates for earlier years are only months because of unclear statistics.
NameNationalityFromToMWDLWin %HonoursNotes
November 1880August 188912813066.7 [27]
Tom Watson Flag of England.svg  England August 1889August 18961911192844062.3 Football League First Division champions 1891–92, 1892–93, 1894–95 [28]
Robert Campbell Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland August 1896April 1899103412240039.8 [29]
Alex Mackie Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland August 1899April 19052141044664048.6 Football League First Division champions 1901–02, Sheriff of London Charity Shield champions 1902–03 [30]
Bob Kyle Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland August 1905May 1928817371155291045.4 Football League First Division champions 1912–13 [31]
Johnny Cochrane Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland June 1928March 193950021212216642.4 Football League First Division champions 1935–36, FA Cup winners 1936–37 [32]
March 1939March 19395203040.0 [27]
Bill Murray Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland April 1939June 1957512186140186036.3 [33]
Alan Brown Flag of England.svg  England August 1957July 196433213888106041.6 [34]
August 1964November 196418369016.7 [27]
George Hardwick (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England November 1964April 19652914312048.3 [35]
Ian McColl Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland August 1965February 1968124392758031.5 [36]
Alan Brown Flag of England.svg  England February 1968November 1972219636888028.8 [34]
Billy Elliott (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England November 1972November 19724022000.0 [37]
Bob Stokoe Flag of England.svg  England 23 November 197218 October 1976197924956046.7 FA Cup winners 1972–73, Football League Second Division champions 1975–76 [38]
Ian MacFarlane (caretaker)Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 18 October 19761 December 19767214028.6 [39]
Jimmy Adamson Flag of England.svg  England 1 December 197625 October 197888292831033.0 [40]
David Merrington (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 25 October 197813 December 19788422050.0 [41]
Billy Elliott Flag of England.svg  England 13 December 197824 May 1979261475053.8 [37]
Ken Knighton Flag of England.svg  England 7 June 19791 April 198194342535036.2 [42]
Mick Docherty (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 1 April 19811 June 19814202050.0 [43]
Alan Durban Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 1 June 19812 March 1984130374053028.5 [44]
Pop Robson (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 2 March 19844 March 19841010000.0 [45]
Len Ashurst Flag of England.svg  England 4 March 198423 May 198566211629031.8 [46]
Lawrie McMenemy Flag of England.svg  England 8 June 198516 April 198790272439030.0 [47]
Bob Stokoe (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 16 April 19879 June 19879324033.3 [38]
Denis Smith Flag of England.svg  England 9 June 198730 December 1991238916483038.2 Football League Third Division champions 1987–88 [48]
Malcolm Crosby Flag of England.svg  England 30 December 199128 January 199360211524035.0 [49]
Terry Butcher Flag of England.svg  England 29 January 199326 November 19934514823031.1 [50]
Mick Buxton Flag of England.svg  England 26 November 199329 March 199576252427032.9 [51]
Peter Reid Flag of England.svg  England 29 March 19957 October 20023531599599045.0 Football League First Division champions 1995–96, 1998–99 [52]
Howard Wilkinson Flag of England.svg  England 10 October 200210 March 2003274815014.8 [53]
Mick McCarthy Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 12 March 20036 March 2006147632658042.9 Football League Championship champions 2004–05 [54]
Kevin Ball (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 7 March 200631 May 200610127010.0 [55]
Niall Quinn Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 25 July 200630 August 20066105016.7 [56]
Roy Keane Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 30 August 20064 December 2008100421741042.0 Football League Championship champions 2006–07 [57]
Ricky Sbragia Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 4 December 200824 May 2009266713023.1 [58]
Steve Bruce Flag of England.svg  England 3 June 200930 November 201198292841029.6 [59]
Eric Black (caretaker)Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 30 November 20113 December 20111001000.0 [60]
Martin O'Neill Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland 3 December 201130 March 201354191619035.2 [61]
Paolo Di Canio Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 31 March 201322 September 201313337023.1
Kevin Ball (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 22 September 20138 October 20133102033.3 [55]
Gus Poyet Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 8 October 201316 March 201575232230030.7 [62] [63]
Dick Advocaat Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 17 March 20154 October 201519469021.1
Sam Allardyce Flag of England.svg  England 9 October 201522 July 2016319913029.0 [64]
David Moyes Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 23 July 201622 May 2017438728018.6 [65]
Simon Grayson Flag of England.svg  England 29 June 201731 October 201718378016.7 [66]
Robbie Stockdale (caretaker)
Billy McKinlay (caretaker)
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
31 October 201719 November 20172011000.0 [67]
Chris Coleman Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 19 November 201729 April 2018295816017.2 [68]
Robbie Stockdale (caretaker)Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 29 April 201825 May 20181100100.0 [67]
Jack Ross Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 25 May 20188 October 201975382710050.7 [69]
James Fowler (caretaker)Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 8 October 201917 October 2019000! [70]
Phil Parkinson Flag of England.svg  England 17 October 201929 November 20203111911035.5 [71]
Andrew Taylor (caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 30 November 20205 December 20201010000.0 [72]
Lee Johnson Flag of England.svg  England 5 December 2020Present4020128050.0 EFL Trophy champions 2020-21 [73]

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