Search icon


09th May 2017

Harry Redknapp has made a pretty bold claim about Antonio Conte and Sunderland

Not a popular theory

Darragh Murphy

It always seemed like no more than a matter of time before Sunderland returned to the Championship.

After enduring more relegation battles than Black Cats fans will care to remember, Sunderland are no longer a Premier League side and it was David Moyes who was at the helm when the creaking ship finally sank.

Moyes was unable to do what Dick Advocaat, Gus Poyet and Paolo di Canio managed in recent seasons but how much of it was the Scotsman’s fault?

If you ask Harry Redknapp, Moyes deserves little to no blame for the drop which is an opinion that’s gone down like a lead balloon among most supporters.

Redknapp has insisted that not even Antonio Conte, the Italian who managed to turn Chelsea into champions-elect after a tenth-placed finish last term, would have prevented Sunderland’s relegation.

“It ain’t difficult to manage some of the top teams, when you’ve got fantastic players it’s the easiest job in the world,” Redknapp told BBC 5 Live on Tuesday.

“It’s when you’re trying to stay in the division like David Moyes this year, he’s gone to Sunderland.

“I knew Sunderland would get relegated at the start of the year and that’s not David’s fault. He took over a squad that had struggled for five years running.

“Bought no good players, they are going to go down this year, sure enough.

“It doesn’t matter who would have gone in there. David Moyes is a top manager. You could have put Conte in there and he wouldn’t have kept Sunderland up either.”

Simply put, there are levels of managers and they don’t really come much better than Conte, who has three Serie A titles and two Italian Super Cups to his name from his time with Juventus.

Moyes, by contrast, has won what was then called the Football League Second Division with Preston in 2000 and the Community Shield during his ill-fated period as Manchester United manager.

It’s very possible that Sunderland would have gone down with Conte in charge but one would imagine that he would have done a better job than Moyes. That seems to be the overriding sentiment among fans anyway.