We’ve had a number of special guests on the Wise Men Say Podcast over the years – former players, chairmen, club commentators – but the most insightful guests are the ones that have managed the club. And in this special series, brought together between 2018 and 2019, we met up with three former club bosses that had more than their fair share of adversity, charting our rise from Division Three to Division One and back down again.
In the first of our Wise Men Say ‘Meet the Managers’ series, we met up with Denis Smith, but before we did that, we talked to the Sunderland supporting Athletico Mince and Top Flight Time Machine presenter Andy Dawson about being a Black Cats fan in those days.
In Part One, Smith talks us through his early years, how he came to be Sunderland manager and how he got Sunderland on the up again after relegation to the third tier for the first time in the club’s history. There are also contributions from some of Smith’s key men in the form of Gary Bennett and Marco Gabbiadini.
In Part Two, Smith recalls that famous Newcastle Play-Off victory, our season in the top flight and that incredible day against Man City at Maine Road amongst other things.
When Denis Smith departed in late 1991, reserves coach Malcolm Crosby was the caretaker manager that took us to Wembley. In the preview pod, Andy Dawson is back to reminisce on those early 1990s days.
In Part One, Crosby speaks to us about his early career, how he ended up at his home town team and all about that fantastic 1992 FA Cup run.
In Part Two, Crosby talks about the 1992 FA Cup final and the circumstances surrounding the end of his tenure as Sunderland manager.
Blood and bandages, Italia 90, Glasgow Rangers and their English invasion, Bobby Robson’s Ipswich – Terry Butcher also played for and managed the lads – and he was next up in the Meet the Managers series. We visited him at his home in Suffolk to talk about his beginnings at Roker Park as a player in the winter of his career, and his progression to player-manager.
In Part Two, Butcher is impressively honest on where it went wrong for him and how Sunderland still holds a special place in his heart.