Sunderland Managers

Sunderland Managers

Sunderland Team 1891-92

Tom Watson 1889-96
Robert Campbell 1896-99
Alex Mackie 1899-1905
Robert Kyle 1905-28
Johnny Cochrane 1928-39

Tom Watson 1889-96

Honours:
Football League First Division winners, 1891-92, 1892-93, 1894-95

Tom Watson was Sunderland’s first and most successful manager winning the First Division title three times. Born in Newcastle, Watson owned a tobacconist shop in Sunderland and was given the task of leading the club into the football league which they joined in 1890. Watson is notably credited for assembling the ‘Team of Talents’ who were crowned football league champions in 1892 when they also reached the FA Cup semi finals. Sunderland continued to prosper under Watson’s guidance, retaining the league title and becoming the first team to score 100 goals in a season. In his final season, Watson led Sunderland to its third title in four years. Watson left Sunderland at the end of 1895 season to become Liverpool manager, where he managed the Merseyside club to the first of their 18 league titles in 1900-01.

Robert Campbell 1896-99

Robert Campbell was a Scot, born in Renton in West Dunbartonshire, who took the position of secretary-manager after Watson left. Campbell could not match the remarkable success of his predecessor and was unable to deliver a title in his three seasons at the helm. Campbell was courted by Woolwich Arsenal and accepted an offer to manage the Gunners in April 1898, but he changed his mind and continued for another full season at Sunderland before joining Bristol City in 1899.

Alex Mackie 1899-1905

Honours:
Football League First Division winners, 1901-02
Charity Shield Winners, 1902-03

Alex Mackie had been a player at Sunderland for two years when he took over from Campbell in the capacity of player-manager and enjoyed great success in his first two years in control at Sunderland. Indeed Mackie never finished lower than sixth in five seasons and brought home Sunderland’s fourth league title in 1902 before his involvement a financial scandal that rocked the club the following year. Mackie was to be suspended as result of an enquiry into financial irregularities in 1903 which eventually saw six directors receiving two-and-a-half years bans from football and Sunderland’s long-serving right back Andrew McCombie transferred to arch-rivals Newcastle soon afterwards. Mackie joined Middlesbrough in 1905 before the outcome of the enquiry into the football payments scandal, but left Sunderland with the club in dis-array.

Robert Kyle 1905-28

Honours:
Football League First Division winners, 1912-13

Belfast-born Robert Kyle had enjoyed a successful spell in charge of Distillery in the Irish League before being asked to pick up the pieces at Sunderland in August 1905. He stayed with the club until he retired from football in 1928 and remains Sunderland’s longest serving manager completing 19 full seasons in charge. During his time at Sunderland, Kyle almost achieved the Double in 1913 when winning the league title and taking Sunderland to its first FA Cup final when losing to AstonVilla at Crystal Palace. Kyle was in charge for Sunderland biggest ever away win defeating Newcastle 9-1 in December 1908 and later Sunderland were to go close to winning the title for a sixth time but finished runners-up in 1923.

Johnny Cochrane 1928-39

Honours:
Football League First Division winners, 1935-36
FA Cup winners, 1936-37

Johnny Cochrane joined Sunderland from St Mirren in 1928 and completely overhauled the team. He goes down as Sunderland’s most successful manager of the 20th century having won the league title in 1936 before going on to win the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history the following year. Cochrane stayed with Sunderland for 11 years and managed for exactly 500 games. It was Cochrane who wanted to sign 14-year-old Raich Carter as an amateur but the youngster’s father had other ideas and arranged him an apprenticeship as an electrician. Cochrane eventually convinced Carter to join Sunderland from amateur club Esh Winning where he was playing after being rejected by Leicester City for being too small. Raich Carter was to become one of, if not the greatest player to wear the red and white shirt of Sunderland.

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