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BREAKING NEWS: Advocaat leaves Sunderland

Sunderland have confirmed the departure of head coach Dick Advocaat following Saturday’s Premier League draw with West Ham.

The experienced Dutchman took over at the Stadium of Light in March tasked with guiding the club to safety – a feat he managed with a game to spare.

Having then confirmed he would, as intended, retire to spend time with his family he was persuaded to perform a u-turn and agreed a one-year contract after reportedly being handed assurances about the club’s transfer budget.

The likes of Jeremain Lens, Yann M’Vila and Fabio Borini moved to Wearside, but Advocaat regularly voiced his frustration at what he perceived as a lack of quality in the squad and he leaves with the club 19th in the table.

“I want to thank everyone who has stood behind me,” he told Sunderland’s official website. “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 turn things around – like we did last year. I am thankful to the chairman for understanding my feelings and I remain on good terms with everyone at the club. 

“I wish Ellis, Lee [Congerton], all of the staff, players and of course the supporters, who made me feel so welcome here, the very best of luck for the rest of the season. I have some wonderful memories to take with me and I hope I will return to see everybody again in the future.”

Advocaat’s concerns over the strength of his squad appeared to be vindicated as Sunderland picked up just three points from their opening eight matches.

He was frequently asked about his future and maintained he was the best man for the job and that he would step aside if he felt that was no longer the case.

Chairman Short added: “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 is a man of integrity and a true football person. 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.

“I want to place on record my sincere thanks to Dick. He will be remembered with great affection by everyone at Sunderland and there will always be a warm welcome for him here at the Stadium of Light.

“While this isn’t a situation any of us envisaged being in, what is important now is that we regroup quickly and focus on the rest of the season.”

Sunderland, who also confirmed that assistant head coach Zeljko Petrovic had left the club, will now begin the search for their sixth manager in four years. Sam Allardyce, a former Sunderland player, Nigel Pearson and Burnley boss Sean Dyche are the early favourites.

Sun 4 Oct, 2015
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