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Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Wilkinson's uphill task

I was surprised when I heard Howard Wilkinson had been appointed as Sunderland manager.

I definitely thought Sunderland were going to go for Mick McCarthy - he was favourite and odds on to get the post.

McCarthy has done a fantastic job with the Republic of Ireland with limited resources.

He's got Ireland organised and playing as a team. And basically that is what Sunderland need most at the moment.

Sometimes you need new blood and a bit of a change.


Clarity is crucial - players must know who is boss and who is second in command

Wilkinson's big task now is to get the players aiming towards the same goals and playing for that jersey.

It won't be easy though because Peter Reid was a popular man in the dressing room and it's always difficult for the new guy coming in.

One thing is for sure, Wilkson has got a far harder job at Sunderland than he had as the Football Association's technical director.

But he has a wealth of experience having won a league title with Leeds, where he put in place a good structure with Paul Hart and the kids.

And Wilkinson has got Steve Cotterill beside him, so it will be interesting to see how the whole thing works out.

The most important thing for the players is that there is one main voice in the dressing room, one man making the decisions.

Clarity is crucial. Players must know who is boss and who is second in command.

As for Sunderland fans being disappointed at what would appear to be swapping like for like in terms of tactics, they shouldn't concern themselves too much with that.


Reid wasn't sacked because of tactics, he was sacked because of results

Football isn't about tactics, it's all about results. It doesn't matter whether you use long balls or short balls, it's the results that count.

It is a misconception when people talk about the long ball or the short ball - it's about the right ball.

There hasn't been a manager yet who has won matches using the long ball that has come under pressure.

What he has got to do is get the players playing with confidence and getting results.

Reid wasn't sacked because of tactics, he was sacked because of results and he knows that better than anyone else.

Peter Reid
Reid will get future job offers

Managing a football club is definitelty an art.

And clubs are increasingly going for more experienced managers now.

The average age of Premiership managers is a lot higher than it was five or six years ago, which is making it harder for those who have just finished playing.

Reid was different though. He was a great player, did well at Manchester City and did a great job at Sunderland.

And that's why I have no doubts that when a major job does come up in the Premiership, Reid will be right in the frame for one of them.

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New Sunderland boss Howard Wilkinson
"I knew this was the right place for me"
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Will Howard Wilkinson keep Sunderland up?

Yes
 25.93% 

No
 74.07% 

18616 Votes Cast

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