Salut! Sunderland bids a grateful farewell to Dick Advocaat

Dick by Jake
Dick by Jake

Pete Sixmsith offers an appreciative, heartfelt and understanding adieu to our departing saviour. Even after just nine games in charge, Dick Advocaat will be a hard one to follow …

Since I started writing for Salut! Sunderland I have written valedictory pieces for Roy Keane, Ricky Sbragia, Steve Bruce, Martin O’Neill, Paolo di Canio and Gus Poyet. And now it’s the turn of Dick Advocaat.

This one is unique because all the others were sacked, but the departure of the Dutchman is different because he has left of his own volition, having done the job that he was brought in to do.

When Poyet was dismissed by the owner in March, we were heading for a bottom three place and goodness knows how many years in the Championship.

While Poyet had not “lost the dressing room” it was clear the players were unsure of what was required of them, culminating in that horrific 45 minutes against Villa. I thought that there was no recovery from that, expected to pick up no more than a couple more points and fully expected to see us relegated by the end of April.

Clearly Advocaat had been spoken to before the Villa game, as those running the club could see that Gus was looking more and more like a man who had lost his marbles.

So, when the axe fell on him, Dick was ready to step in with the simple brief of “Keep us up; we need all that lovely money next year.”

I have no idea how the players felt but I suspect that they were delighted to be working with a head coach who told them what to do in clear and simple terms and who made it plain that they started with a clean slate. I also suspect that he had a detailed dossier on the players gleaned from TV and from having asked his people to watch games and draw up a good/bad check list for each one.

He walked into a big club, excellent training facilities, a crop of decent players and one or two good ones, but whose confidence, although not shattered, was fragile.

The first game at West Ham showed him our strengths; the players could follow instructions, they were defensively sound, the midfield was solid. He saw our weaknesses, too, – the difficulty we had in coming back when we concede because there was no flair in that hard working midfield, the forwards were not given enough chances and when they did get them, they failed to score.

It needed organisation, hard work and belief and Advocaat gave them that in spades. Take the Palace game out of the equation and he lost but a single game and that was at Chelsea.

He guided the players to three wins and three draws, gleaning 12 points, which is 10 more than I would have expected. It wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t pretty but it was effective and as Burnley and QPR fell away and Hull and Newcastle slid into the zone, Advocaat was able to guide us to safety.

Cheers all round for the Dutchman.


Here’s what M Salut
had to say at ESPN about Dick Advocaat’s departure:


“A number of clubs contacted me but the decision was always Sunderland or nobody.” The Sunderland faithful will love the last few words. Their club got under Advocaat’s skin, just as it had with the club’s ex-chairman Niall Quinn. And he had repaid their support by emulating the feats of Paolo di Canio, Guy Poyet and, for that matter, Martin O’Neill, in keeping their team up.


I think we all knew, deep down, that he would then head back to his new house in the Netherlands, to the warmth of his family and his memories of winning titles in various European countries.

At 68 (older than Monsieur Salut, believe it or not) the prospect of working long hours trying to build something at Sunderland was probably not that attractive.

Players had to be recruited and released. Opponents had to be scouted and prepared for. There would be long days on the training ground and long nights talking to the owner, the chief executive and the sporting director.

At his age, he would not relish that prospect. He had succeeded in the short term. For a man with his pedigree in club football, that was fairly easy. Look at the players here, get them to do what I want them to for nine games and safety is virtually guaranteed. But to do it over 38 games? At 68? Much, much harder.

As supporters, all we can say is thank goodness that he came into the club for those nine games because we were sunk without him.

His wisdom, his experience and his desire never to have a relegation on his cv got the club through a very tricky period. Compared with a maniac like Di Canio and a man who was probably a bit too clever for his own good in Poyet, he brought that practicality that the Dutch have – solid, effective, a touch of showmanship at times, but a work ethic that rubbed off onto players from totally different backgrounds to his.

And now where do we go? Allardyce is available; so is McClaren.
Clements looks likely to take over at Derby, while Jokanovic is about to leave Watford.

I am sure that the owner knew that this was likely to be a short term appointment and that contingency plans have been made. We need a quick appointment and a correct one – this is probably the most important appointment that Short will make because another season of struggle will kill off much of the support.

Ellis Short comes from Missouri, a state where the people are sceptical of those who promise the world. Harry S Truman had a sign on his desk that he turned round when he was being fed bulls***; it said “I’m from Missouri” and when he showed that to someone pitching a policy that was more fantasy than fact, the pitcher knew it was time to leave the Oval Office.

We have had pitches from Bruce, Di Canio and Poyet which deserved to have the same treatment. This time we need something sensible, practical and above all successful. Over to you Ellis – and thanks for the last two months, Dick.

23 thoughts on “Salut! Sunderland bids a grateful farewell to Dick Advocaat”

  1. Prior to the announcement about retiring there was talk about him staying on in a consultancy capacity. This seems to have disappeared now which is a real pity if that opportunity has gone. As you say Scotter, an ideal candidate for a board member. Are you reading this Mr Short?

  2. Been said on various forums that we need to strengthen the Board with some football knowledge. We’ve just let an ideal candidate slip into retirement.

  3. Cheers Mr Advoocat , well done . Hopefully he’s recommended someone else for the job who’s off the radar like he was, but who can be similarly effective . Was hoping he’d stay on for another year to steady the ship while training up he’s successor but that wasn’t to be and we move on , in the Premiership and all the better for having him here .

  4. What is it they say, shoot the messenger and I havent always been welcome on here by any means. Like I say I just what I think and if you dont like it hard luck, time’ll prove that I’m right. And lets see how much noise you make next time Newcastle beats you, sooner or later it’ll happen, and how many of you get up and go before the whistle

    • And how many of that 40,000 you got at Wembley will turn up regularly next season at the Riverside ? From what I’ve read online in the last few days , the genuine Boro fans can’t stand the sight of the glory hunters that turned up on mass for the semi’s and final .

      • Come one come all is what I say but however many come they’ll likely see better football at Riverside than they would at the SoL. I know you lot get great crowds, no denying that but I think sometimes theyre easy pleased lol

      • Easily pleased ? Don’t you read our comments ? It’s called support , through thick and thin . Try it yourselves , eventually the chairman will be forced to invest again .

  5. Smoggie. You are always welcomed on here for you good humour, but that’s deserting you at the moment.

    “You wouldnt be crowing about the derby games so much if you hadnt won them both.”

    Well that’s rather like saying that if my aunt had a c*ck she’d be my uncle isn’t it. It’s the sort of comment that would make sense to the hard of thinking but that’s about it.

    Most of us wanted your lot to go up. We don’t have a problem with your club, but since they play off final you’ve gone right off the rails marra.

  6. I wish Advocaat all the best in his retirement,he deserves it.I read this morning that Sam the man is favourite for the job..God I hope not,hes just another run of the mill managers and we dont want any of them here.Short needs to look at a top manager and give him everything he asks for.Ancellotti maybe with Clement,I cant think of anyone else that would fit the bill,but whoever they appoint it has to be the right one,,Come on the second Messiah?

    • Only thing I’m bitter about is not winning you a pot to go under your bed lol. No no I’m just saying what I think, Advocaat’s better off out of it and you lot are better off without him. Like I’ve just said to Gary Hudson think back to O’neill and Dicanio, same thing woudve happened with your best pal Dick once the rose-coloured glasses were off

  7. There was nowt so brilliant about it, he got the side to pull their selves together long enough to save a few points and thats about it, what my old dad wouldve called a journeyman job. If he stopped at Sunderland you’d be screaming for his blood by the end of the season same as you always do and you wouldnt be calling him Dick like he was your best friend. Its a sad look on when a 68 year old is the best you can think of for a manager

    • Deliberate antagonist. Surely the sad man can do better than a shallow dig.

      Remarkable achievement by Dickie delivering passion and commitment from an average bunch of players.

      Our first class fans deserved nothing less.I bet the old Smoggies will never ever experience a Derby game atmosphere as experienced at the SoL this year. This was to a great extent down to Dickies tactical wisdom and of course our dislike of the B&W circus. Journeyman? bet you wish you had one to get you out of the Championship.

      • I’m not bothered that we didnt get out of the championship and you lot might be better off with a year or two there. Say what you like about derby games we had a more entertaining season than you. You wouldnt be crowing about the derby games so much if you hadnt won them both. I’m not saying Advocaat didnt do what he was paid to do, he did but that doesnt mean he wouldnt fall on his backside next season and have you at his throat. Its happened before or have you forgotten O’neill and Dicanio, they were both going to be your saviours but then they werent

      • “You wouldnt be crowing about the derby games so much if you hadnt won them both”.

        Now there’s a piece of wit.

      • What the hell are you crowing on about,your a typical boro twat,no nothing about football,if your just satisfied watching championship sides week in week out,then thats your choice,myself I want to watch the world class players week in week out,even tho we dont have any yet….go to hell,oh your already there,Middlesbrough,what a joke)…and please go and rabble on some other site because were all fed up with your views about us,,,,,bog off!

  8. What idiot has given a thumbs down to Jeremy for his expression of disappointment and THANKS?!?

    I agree with Pete’s views; I also thought we would only get 2 draws between that Villa shambles and the end of the season, and given the subsequent huge setback against Palace, what Advocaat has achieved is, in my opinion, amazing.

    Like Robbo, I hope Dick’s been on the ‘phone to someone he feels could do a good job and recommending our club to them.

    If not, it may be worthwhile the club’s marketing team selling special part-season tickets now just for the last 9 games of the season.

  9. Sunderland should certainly make use of his contacts and knowledge of Dutch and European football, a la Koeman at Southampton.

    • Maybe Dick has been on the phone to Frank De Boer telling him what a great club we are and Frank is already penning his resignation at Ajax……fat chance!

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