WORLD Cup winner Carlos Alberto Parreira has told the Sunderland board he is interested in succeeding Roy Keane.
Representatives of the 65-year-old Brazilian, who led his country to World Cup success in 1994, have communicated Parreira’s interest to chairman Niall Quinn, who is overseeing the board’s efforts to secure a replacement for Keane. Parreira has been out of football since he resigned as manager of South Africa in April and has admitted he is missing the “thrill” of management.
He had previously stated that he would not be willing to work outside of Brazil but appears to have had a U-turn, and his extensive experience in world and club football over the past 30 years makes him
a candidate worthy of consideration by the Sunderland board.
Whether Quinn will be convinced by the claims of a manager who has never worked in the Premier League or not is unknown, but Parreira’s willingness to take on the job is further evidence of the job done by Quinn and former incumbent Keane in promoting Sunderland’s image globally.
Sunderland are understood to have identified their preferred candidate to succeed Keane from a “breathtaking” shortlist that, alongside Parreira, includes former Barcelona boss Louis van Gaal and recently deposed Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster.
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan and former Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce are other candidates on the list being considered by Quinn and the board but, as Quinn set out in Saturday’s matchday programme notes, caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia will be considered if results continue to go for him.
Sbragia will resist the temptation to put his name forward for the Sunderland managerial vacancy, but his impressive work since taking over from Keane means he is a credible candidate..
Within the boardroom there is concern at the team’s plight – the 4-0 weekend victory over West Brom eased relegation fears but there is still a long way to go before Sunderland are clear of the battle to avoid the drop – and it speaks volumes for the esteem in which Sbragia is held that they are prepared to hand him responsibility for the team’s crucial run of games.
While not believed to be the first choice of the Sunderland board, his credentials are being examined carefully – even though Sbragia will not apply for the job.
“I haven’t applied, no. I haven’t even thought about it,” he said. “It’s very nice of Niall to say I’m a contender. I’vee never ever thought about being a manager – I’ve always liked being a coach, it’s as simple as that.
“If it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t and I haven’t lost anything. I’m still enjoying the job.
“I’m in a wonderful job, I enjoy the players, I love the club.
“But I’ve never ever thought about or spoken to Niall about the manager’s job. I’ve spoken to him many times and every time it’s been ‘Just try and get a win, we need to get a win’.
“We need to get back on the rails again and get back to being a difficult team to beat.”
Allardyce remains a credible and well-qualified candidate to take over but his chances of getting the job appear to be receding. Although the former Newcastle United and Bolton manager has not been discounted he admitted yesterday that he has not yet been spoken to by the Sunderland board – although he remains interested.
“There’s been no contact between me and Sunderland,” Allardyce said.
“But I’d like to talk to them. I think that would be nice and we could see where went from there.”