What next for Chris Coleman after Sunderland humiliation?
Chris Coleman cut his managerial teeth by leading Fulham to a ninth-place finish in the 2003/04 Premier League campaign. Unfortunately for the Welshman, that remains his biggest achievement in club management. Stints at Real Sociedad, Coventry City, and Greek side AEL all ended in disappointment for one reason or another.
Coleman finally found stability at home. After taking over the Welsh national team in 2012, he led the Dragons to the European Championship semi-final four years later. His achievement was made more remarkable as it was Wales' first major tournament qualification since appearing in the 1958 World Cup.
Appreciation soon showered on Coleman. His contribution to the national side was fully acknowledged. In 2016, he was awarded the freedom of his hometown, Swansea. Three months later, the former defender received an honorary degree from Swansea University. He was also appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to football.
With all the accolades, one would have expected Coleman to dream big.
Surprisingly, though, he opted for a lowly-positioned Championship club. Sunderland was struggling to stay afloat in the relegation waters, neither prepared nor equipped for survival.
Coleman's decision to manage the Black Cats was perhaps motivated by once taking a similar gamble during his playing career.
In late 1997, he dropped two divisions to join Fulham from Blackburn Rovers. Coleman, as captain, helped the Cottagers gain promotion to the second tier. He wasn't as fortunate 21 years later, however. Sunderland's sinking ship couldn't be saved.
The Stadium of Light has witnessed a dark period in recent times. From endless Premier League struggles to swapping managers as often as Donald Trump likes to Tweet, it's been a nightmare for the Black Cats. One former gaffer, David Moyes, even foretold relegation under his watch.
Poor management coupled with a lack of resources have ultimately dragged Sunderland all the way down to League One. That’s a club which has won six top-flight titles. Historically, only five clubs have achieved more than the Black Cats in England's top tier. It counts for little now, though.
Coleman was released from his Sunderland contract on 29 April. He should have realised his mistake by now. It's time for him to clear his mind and look to the future.
Several Premier League teams require a top-class manager. The list includes Everton's current vacant position, as well as Watford. For Coleman to redeem his reputation earned at Wales, he must lead a top-flight side to glory.
With Sam Allardyce gone, Everton desperately need a proven manager. One who will bring beautiful football back to Goodison Park. The Toffees faithful also want a European adventure.
Coleman would be a good fit at Everton. Only 47 years old, hungry, yet vastly experienced. It's the perfect solution for both manager and club.
Although Sunderland may want Coleman back, a Premier League return is the Welshman's best opportunity to take his career up a level.