Sunderland - The Present That Keeps On Giving!

Sunderland have sacked manager Chris Coleman after failing to keep the club in the Sky Bet Championship.

The 47-year-old left his role as Wales national team boss to succeed Simon Grayson at the Stadium of Light last November.

But Coleman could not prevent the Black Cats from suffering relegation during his five months in charge.

A statement on the club's official website read: "Sunderland AFC announces that manager Chris Coleman and his assistant Kit Symons have been released from their contracts.

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"The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Chris and Kit for their tireless efforts in what has been a hugely disappointing season for everyone involved with the club.

"The club is unable to make further comment at this time."

Life in the third tier will see a new face in the dugout, and there are numerous choices available to the incoming owners.

We look at the current front-runners, alongside odds with Sky Bet, and assesses what each candidate could bring to the table.

Chris Wilder – 5/2
One name linked with the vacancy is Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder, but it’ll be a surprise to see him switch the Blades for the Black Cats.

United narrowly missed out on a play-off spot in the Championship in the first season back in the division, following their League One title this season before.

He’d have to leave Bramall Lane, where he finds himself as a popular figure, to move to the Stadium of Light and restart a journey that he has already begun in South Yorkshire.

Wilder has enjoyed a successful spell at his current club since taking over in May 2016.

They won the League One title with a remarkable 100 points, losing just six of the 46 games they played.

The Blades may currently occupy 11th, but it’s worth remembering that they are only five points off the top six and may well end the season eighth by the end of the campaign.

It’d take a very lucrative offer to prize Wilder away from his current situation, but even then it’s hard to see him leaving for this vacancy.

Sheffield United will be fancied as promotion contenders next season and it wouldn’t make a great deal of sense for Wilder to swap potential Premier League for the third tier.

Mick McCarthy – 5/2
A veteran when it comes to managing in the Championship, McCarthy will look for a new adventure in the summer after departing Ipswich Town in early-April.

McCarthy was due to leave the club at the end of the season, following an announcement in March.

The 59-year-old had been in charge of the East Anglia outfit since November 2012, guiding them to clear safety in the same season.

In his first full season, McCarthy helped them finish ninth in the table which led to him signing a new four-year deal in June 2014.

A seventh-place finish followed in 2016 but they have been unable to replicate similar form in recent seasons and the Tractor Boys will look for a new man at the end of the season.

Given the early impact he had at the likes of Ipswich, Wolves and Millwall in the past, McCarthy could be an attractive prospect for the new Sunderland if they seek an immediate return to the Sky Bet Championship.

He’d be the experienced option out of the front-runners for the vacancy, and someone who you’d back to guide Sunderland into the Championship.

The big stumbling block could be other vacancies that will become available in the summer, and McCarthy has been heavily linked with Leeds United in recent weeks.

Michael Appleton – 3/1
Leicester assistant manager Michael Appleton finds himself in the early running to replace Coleman.

The 42-year-old had a brief spell in temporary charge of the Baggies in 2011. He drew 3-3 against West Ham in his only game, throwing away a 3-0 lead at half-time.

Appleton had a tough run at Portsmouth following his departure from West Brom, posting just 13 wins in 51 games as the club battled to stay afloat during financial crisis.

His spell at Blackpool lasted 12 matches, the shortest-serving manager in the club’s history, with a 16.7% win ratio.

He departed for Blackburn, guiding them to a victory over Arsenal at the Emirates in an FA Cup fifth round, but left 67 days later with the club 18th in the Sky Bet Championship.

His managerial career picked up during a lengthy spell at Oxford United. During his three years at the club, Appleton guided them to League Two promotion and Football League Trophy success.

He would also take them to Wembley again, this time as EFL Trophy runners-up, whilst also narrowly missing out on a spot in the League One play-offs the season after.

Following Craig Shakespeare’s departure from the Foxes in October, Appleton took caretaker charge and won games against Swansea and Leeds before the arrival of Claude Puel.

He’d be a promising appointment for Sunderland given his track record at the level they now find themselves.

Jaap Stam – 6/1
The former Reading boss was dismissed from the Royals in March with the club sitting in 20th with the danger of them joining Sunderland in the third tier next season.

He did take them to the play-off final the season before, losing out to Huddersfield on penalties having finished the campaign in eighth, eight points off Brighton who gained automatic promotion to the Premier League.

A centre-back during his playing career, he organises his teams with the emphasis on defence and possession, a tactic that worked wonders for Reading in his first season.

Overall he boasted a 40.8% win percentage at the Berkshire club, securing victory in 40 of the 98 games in charge.

Prior to Reading, he did spend time as a coach at Dutch outfits NEC Zwolle and Ajax, showing he possesses some top-level experience.

For Sunderland, this summer will see a host of changes and that includes the playing squad.

If Stam can ensure that he can build a strong back line then he could potentially be a success for the Black Cats.

Derby County assistant coach Kevin Phillips
Kevin Phillips – 6/1
He may have been a European Golden Shoe winner during his playing career, but Kevin Phillips’ managerial CV is currently quite light.

The 44-year-old is currently the assistant manager at Derby, who could be a Premier League side next season if they can finish inside the Championship’s top-six.

He finished his career at Leicester, taking up a coaching role with the Foxes where he would become assistant first team coach.

Phillips then joined Paul Clement at Derby, remaining within the set-up despite numerous managerial changes.

Despite his lack of experience, this could be a good appointment for both parties as he looks to make his first step into management.

The level will suit him, he does possess the necessary coaching qualities to move into a club in the third tier who will be looking for a return to the Championship.

It would be the more risky appointment out of the current front-runners, but one that would be a positive move as the club looks to start again from their current situation.

Plus, add in his lengthy spell at the club as a player, where he won a significant number of accolades, and it could be a move that sits well with a fan-base who may find themselves distanced from the club after recent showings.