Sunderland appointed Michael Beale as their new head coach on Monday. He replaces Tony Mowbray who was sacked two weeks ago. The news has had mixed reactions from fans with many unsure that this is the right appointment to take the club forward. Here is a look at some of the opinions on Beale from those within the game who have either worked with him or have watched him manage and coach over the years.
What Those in the Game Have Said About Sunderland’s New Head Coach Michael Beale
Current Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers worked with Beale at both Chelsea and Liverpool as well as facing him in the Glasgow derby. During the summer he spoke about his relationship with the now Sunderland head coach. He said: “At Chelsea, I just knew Michael had a love of the game. I was working with the youth team and the reserves at that time, but I knew he had a passion for the game and he communicated a lot.
“There was that real communication from the top end of the academy to the younger guys. He was clearly ambitious and wanting to progress which is great, and he’s done that. He made a really good start at QPR.
“Then he came up here, where he knows the climate, the challenge, the pressures and the expectations. He’s wanted to take that on.”
Upon learning that Beale had been sacked by Rangers, Rodgers said: “When you’re manager at Celtic and Rangers, these jobs are the very highest level of pressure, expectation, stress. For a young manager starting out that’s a big, big challenge.
“But he will be better for it. He’ll go away and reflect where he could have been better, where things could have been different and then it will; sharpen his teeth going into the next job.”
Former Rangers and Scotland star and now football pundit Kris Boyd was critical of Beale’s time in charge at Ibrox. Boyd wrote in the Scottish Sun after Beale was sacked in October: “His brass neck got him the Rangers job. The same bare-faced arrogance cost him it.
“Michael Beale paid the price for believing he was too smart and too clever for Scottish football. He showed that streak before he swaggered back inside Ibrox when he undermined Giovanni van Bronckhorst nearly a year ago.
“Then, crucially, it was the same when it came to his recruitment as he signed one luxury player after another, thinking they just had to turn up to win. That’s just not how it works in our league.
“But for Beale, the writing was on the wall as soon as results started to go wrong while he tried to talk down the money he’d been given to spend.
“What a nerve he had. Because he was given more financial support than any new manager could have ever expected. “If van Bronckhorst had been given that money, Rangers wouldn’t be in the state they are now.
“This mess isn’t on the current Rangers board.”
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard worked alongside Beale when he took his first steps into football management, first at Rangers and then at Aston Villa. Gerrard was highly complimentary of the coach. He said: “It would take me 15 to 20 years to become as good as Michael Beale as an on-pitch coach, delivering sessions on a daily basis, so I let Mick be Mick because he’s the expert.
“A lot of people won’t have a clue what Michael Beale does on the training pitch, but what he does is really quite special. He’s very highly thought of in the world of football.”
Former Rangers manager and football pundit Graeme Souness spoke before Beale’s appointment at Sunderland and expects it to be a difficult job. He said: “Michael Beale looks set to take over as the new head coach at Sunderland and I suspect that job will be just as difficult as he found it at Rangers.
“It was a gamble going to Scotland and it did not work out for him. Sunderland will be something similar in that it is a huge club with big expectations.
“They are a Premier League-level club, in reality. Also, one of his early games will be against Newcastle in the FA Cup. I wish him all the best!”
Main image courtesy of IMAGO