The successor to the throne of Paolo Di Canio’s reign has finally been found. Gus Poyet, the former Brighton boss, has replaced the Italian. After a faltering start to the Premier League campaign, Di Canio was sacked only after five games. His replacement brings with him Brighton backroom team of Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway.
This season was billed to be a testing one for the former manager after he saved the club from being relegated last season. But he couldn’t replicate the form from last season and the club lies at the bottom of the table with no wins.
Poyet’s journey through management has been an eventful one thus far.
Gus Poyet, who played for Chelsea and Tottenham, started his managerial career at Swindon Town in July 2006 where he was a player and assistant to his former Chelsea teammate Dennis Wise. When Wise left Swindon, the duo were appointed at the helm of Leeds United in October, 2006 where Poyet was Wise’s assistant again. When Poyet left Leeds to become the assistant at Tottenham, Leeds United’s team suffered a noted decline.
In October 2007, Poyet left Leeds to join Juande Ramos as assistant at his former club Tottenham. In his first season as assistant manager, he won the 2007-08 League Cup beating Chelsea 2-1 in the final. Following the sacking of Ramos at White Hart Lane, Poyet was appointed as the first team manager at Brighton and Hove Albion in November 2009.
In his first year in charge of Brighton, Poyet steered the club to safety in League One. The adventure continued for him the following year with a 5-0 victory against Leyton Orient. The team went on to win five from first eight games, helping the team to win the League One title — with four games still to play. In May 2011, Poyet was voted LMA League One Manager of the Year for his achievements in the 2010-11 season.
Last season he took the Seagulls to the Championship Play-off where they were defeated by Crystal Palace. Accolades followed as he won the Outstanding Managerial Achievement Award at the Football League Awards ceremony in March 2012. On 16 May 2013, however, he was suspended by Brighton after an internal investigation and disciplinary hearing, and sacked a month later for misconduct. Out of the total 194 games he managed for Brighton, he won 86 of them losing only 49 boasting a 44.3% win ratio.
Gus Poyet takes over at the Stadium of Light with Sunderland only having gained a point from seven games. He had made no secret of his interest in managing in the Premier League, and this seems to be the perfect platform to showcase his caliber. As he said, “I look forward to proving my ability to the fans – I want them to believe because we need to stick together.”
Under Di Canio, the team looked out of sorts, raising a few eyebrows when he signed 14 players in the close season. After the sacking of Di Canio, there have been positive play from the team under interim manager Kevin Ball despite the defeats against Liverpool and Manchester United.
At Brighton, the secret to Poyet’s success was the club’s impressive home record. “I think the key behind my strong home record at Brighton was the connection with the fans – I can see that here.” He has inherited a strong team from his predecessor, which includes Emanuele Giaccherini, Sebastian Larsson, Ki Sung-Yueng, Adam Johnson and also the injured Steven Fletcher. Fresh blood has been injected in the team with the likes of Fabio Borini, Jozy Altidore and El-Hadji Ba. After such a turbulent start to the season, it’s up to Poyet to lift the spirit of the team and its supporters.
During his time involved in management and coaching of Swindon and Leeds, there’s no doubt that Poyet was influential. His time in Brighton was the best football that the club had seen in recent years. He built a team that played attractive free-flowing football that saw the team fight for the Championship playoffs. It’s his man-management skills, style of play and the ability to offer good football working on such a small budget that makes him an ideal choice for a club that is in dire need of stability after being the sixth permanent manager at Sunderland in just five years.
Only time will tell whether Poyet will be able to do his magic and save the team from relegation come the end of the season. But if his former exploits are anything to go by, then we can expect The Stadium of Light to be a very difficult place to get three points in the coming weeks.