Ranking the Most Recent Seven Permanent Managers of Sunderland AFC
Sunderland has experienced its share of highs and lows in the past decade. Once a mainstay in the Premier League, the Black Cats’ ongoing struggle for survival ultimately led to a significant downfall. Consecutive relegations in 2017 and 2018 saw them plummet to League One. Both on and off the field, Sunderland faced numerous challenges, with a significant decline in their performance. However, the arrival of new ownership eventually marked a turning point for the club. In this article, we’ll assess the last seven managers who presided over this period of decline and the subsequent resurgence, which led them back to the Championship.
7. Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson took the reins following Sunderland’s relegation from the Premier League, replacing David Moyes as the manager at the Stadium of Light. Unfortunately, his tenure was short-lived, lasting only 18 games before his dismissal. Grayson’s leadership coincided with a dismal run of form, laying the groundwork for the club’s second consecutive relegation. During his time in charge, Sunderland managed just three wins.
6. Chris Coleman
Chris Coleman assumed the role after Grayson’s departure, bringing with him an enhanced reputation following his success in leading Wales to the semi-finals of the 2016 European Championship. Despite his pedigree, Coleman was unable to reverse Sunderland’s downward spiral, overseeing the team’s descent to the third tier. His stint lasted only 29 games and six months, with his dismissal occurring a few games before the end of the season.
5. Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson took over as Sunderland’s manager as the team aimed for promotion from League One. His tenure at the club spanned just over a year, with the early stages marred by the pandemic. Parkinson secured 11 wins out of 31 games during his time in charge, ultimately departing in November 2020.
4. Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson managed Sunderland for 78 games, achieving a total of 40 wins and a win percentage of 51.3%. The club was in contention for promotion to the Championship when he was relieved of his duties. Although the team delivered good results and played attractive football under his guidance, the club opted for a swift change when their form began to dip in January 2022.
3. Jack Ross
Jack Ross assumed the role of Sunderland manager when the club was relegated to League One. In his first campaign, he led the team to the play-off final, which they unfortunately lost. Ross was dismissed in October 2019 with the club in sixth place in the third division, concluding his tenure with a win percentage of 50.7.
2. Alex Neil
Alex Neil’s stint in charge at Sunderland lasted only seven months, but it left a lasting impact. During his tenure, he secured 11 wins out of 19 games and successfully guided the Black Cats back to the Championship with a play-off final victory over Wycombe Wanderers. Neil departed for rival club Stoke City in August 2022, with a win percentage of 57.9.
1. Tony Mowbray
Following Neil’s abrupt departure, Tony Mowbray took over and seamlessly continued his predecessor’s work. The 59-year-old coach led the exciting young squad to an impressive sixth-place finish in his first campaign. Sunderland narrowly missed out on a second consecutive promotion with a 3-2 loss to Luton in the semi-finals. Mowbray’s objective is to guide the club to another top-six finish in the current season.