Mrs Advocaat’s flowers and Sunderland’s blooming expectations

portofino stripes


How can you buy flowers
for someone whose name you don’t even know?

This is how The Northern Echo reports the story of Dick Advocaat’s about-turn on his decision – attributed to wifely demands – to leave Sunderland after his Red Adair rescue gig, and the response to that decision of quite a few fans …

Grateful Sunderland fans have raised more than £2,000 to buy flowers for their manager’s wife after he returned to the club with her permission. Dick Advocaat had said that he’d leave at the end of last season because his wife wanted him to retire …. Sunderland fan Tom Sproates set up a GoFundMe page for online donations for his wife, which topped £1,300 seven hours after being started.

Bravo Tom, who really must consider a new career with InterFlora, even if he feels £150 of the proceeds of the fund should cover the bouquet, the rest going to the SAFC Foundation and/or a charity of Mrs A’s choice.

But why, despite several minutes checking the internet in Dutch as well as English, can I still find no trace of Mrs Advocaat’s name? My Googling shortcomings, probably. Others will be more adept at searching online and quickly put me out of this minor misery. But every report I have seen talks of Dick’s wife or krouw, never by name.

Small beer, you’ll rightly tell me. So here, to keep the more important discussion alive, are extracts from how I reported the new one-year contract for ESPN, a piece written before Tom got involved in floral tributes …

Naturally, he tells the official Sunderland website his about-turn followed discussions with club owner Ellis Short and sporting director Lee Congerton. This may have been the easy part. He also refers to talks with his family; to have been a fly on that particular wall might have been fascinating.

For supporters unimpressed by most of the reputed lineup of candidate for the job of head coach, the deal is undoubtedly good news.

It would be even better if there could be assurances concerning his role in preparing for the seasons after the end of the next one. The minor dissent I have seen among supporters is from those who fear the appointment means, as one put it, “another summer of loan signings and hawking around players from relegated clubs. How will we be able to sign players with the knowledge that the coach who wants them won’t be around in a year’s time?”

It is a fair question, best answered by the kind of assurance on succession that I mentioned. Advocaat must be encouraged not only to push Sunderland up the table from 16th, which would have seemed an abysmal finish had it not also brought barely expected survival, but to warm the seat for someone else who thinks like him.

And my conclusion:

… as Sunderland are painfully aware, instant saviours do not always prosper in the longer haul of building on exceptional short-term achievements.

[But] everything about Advocaat suggests he can create the stability, even in this relatively brief extension of his time on Wearside, to avoid another frantic scramble next spring. If he can also keep an eye on how a club that routinely sells more tickets than Premier League champions Chelsea can then be turned into regular top-half contenders, he will win lasting appreciation and gratitude.

Although those words were rattled off soon after the announcement, I think they still encapsulate what we should be looking for from the deal. I have a suspicion the pre-season transfer activity will be more interesting than usual …

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
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10 thoughts on “Mrs Advocaat’s flowers and Sunderland’s blooming expectations”

  1. ‘Another summer of loan signings and hawking around players from relegated clubs’….someone has expressed their concern about DA’s short term appointment. Well probably but what do you expect ….as regular relegation candidates are not going to attract any big stars at the peak their careers no matter who is manager. But we will be more attractive proposition with Dick as manager than some unproven up and coming manager.

    I expect to see us sign two or three young players (eg Bartram,Bamford,VanDjik )who would be bench warmers at the likes of Chelsea ,City and United plus a couple of seasoned professionals ( eg Evans,Richards ) and one or two who have played for Dick at his previous clubs.

  2. I couldn’t really care less what her name is, and am not interested in knowing anything else about her, but her husband is a public figure, and her point of view was one affecting tens of thousands of people that entered the public domain through one or other of them. So it seems a pretty harmless thing to ask. I just think it’s natural that if you buy flowers for someone, you actually know what they’re called!

    • I agree but also thought that if (for example) they’d only been together for a couple of years and she was a good few years younger than DA it could have explained his constant references to her thought processes.

    • Curiouser and curiouser. M Salut – as an investigative journalist of renown you need to get to the bottom of this! I’m all for letting private figures have their privacy but we need to know she really exists before we start sending her bunches of daffs from the Shell garage in Doxford Park!

      But then as Freddy Mercury once sang “Is this the real life – is this just fantasy …………doesn’t really matter to me!”

  3. “But why, despite several minutes checking the internet in Dutch as well as English, can I still find no trace of Mrs Advocaat’s name?”

    The closest I managed to get was the Wiki reference to him being divorced with one daughter and a photograph of he/she (along with a number of dignitaries) taken in South Korea in 2005, when he was managing their national team.

    I suspected the pic was, probably, of his “ex” and so posted a thread on RTG asking if anyone had any info’ about his current wife (name/age etc – nothing too personal).

    It was deleted within a matter of minutes following one reply asking “what business was it of ours?”!!

  4. A nice gesture and donating the balance to charity especially. I’m sure they’ll manage to find a few flowers in Holland but…….amidst all the euphoria of Dick’s return (and cynical as I am when reading the red tops) I came across this piece in the on line version of the Mirror….

    “It’s emerged Advocaat initially turned down Sunderland after hoping to land the Belgium job – a post he held for seven months in 2010 before stepping down to manage Russia. Advocaat fancied another stint with the Belgians after their current coach Marc Wilmots was tipped to join German club Schalke. But Wilmots decided to stay put – dashing Advocaat’s hopes and forcing him into a Sunderland U-turn.”

    Was it in fact Mevr Advocaat who relented or is there any truth in this?

    Just playing Devil’s advocaat. Maybe our readers in Holland can enlighten us as to how the Dutch press has reported his return.

    • In an interview in the Dutch paper, the Telegraaf, he claims that it was the persistence of Congerton and Short which convinced him to stay on. He talks about his age and the doubts he had about being able to withstand the rigours of being a PL manager, Congerton and Short thought otherwise. He has really fallen for the club and its supporters and wants to finish off what he has started, which he thinks he can further in the coming season. Reading between the lines, I have the feeling that he will continue to have some say after 2015/2016, not least in choosing his successor.

      • If there is evidence of clear progression (which I fully expect) next season then I think DA could well be having an input to SAFC for a few years yet.

        No idea in which capacity, but an input nonetheless.

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