Anthony Hudson shuts down Sunderland rumors

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Photo Credit: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (May 16, 2018) – Anthony Hudson is in his first season as the Head Coach of the Colorado Rapids. Recently, a number of outlets in Tyne and Wear have reported that Sunderland AFC is interested in Hudson as their new manager for the 2018-19 season. Let’s take a look at this Anthony Hudson Sunderland rumor in detail.

Anthony Hudson Sunderland rumor: “My life right now is Colorado Rapids”

For those of you not as familiar with English football, Sunderland is a club in the northern part of England. Just last year, they were relegated from the English Premier League to the English Championship after several years of barely surviving in relegation dogfights. American international Jozy Altidore played for them from 2013-15.

Sunderland finished up their league season a few weeks ago, finishing last and getting relegated to League One. This will be the club’s first time in the English third division since 1987. The club just got sold to new ownership, a group led by Eastleigh FC Chairman Stewart Donald, and previous debt issues have been resolved by Ellis Short (the previous owner).

The Black Cats are very much looking to get back into the Championship as soon as possible and eventually return to the EPL. The club could be looking to get promoted next season and go from there. They reportedly have a few candidates with Hudson being one, albeit not the first choice for club leadership.

Hudson’s statement:

Coach Hudson was asked about this rumor on Tuesday after Rapids training during his weekly press availability.

“My life right now is the Colorado Rapids. I am just dying to get this team to where we want it to be. I want to be here for a long time. I want to build something special here. I communicate that regularly to [General Manager Pádraig Smith].

I communicate that regularly because I know where we are now. I know what needs to happen. I know the changes we need to make. I know what this team can be. I want to see it through; I want to be here for a long time. I’m not thinking about anything else,” Hudson told Last Word on Soccer.

Does this pass the smell test?

In a word, no. Let’s start with the logistics. Previously, Hudson was the manager of the New Zealand National Team. It’s been just over six months since he moved halfway across the world to Denver, CO. Now he’s going to move another seven time zones? It seems like a lot of work after just getting settled. Is a third division job worth it?

Secondly, normally when a coach takes a new position, we see him try and get his guys from previous clubs or national teams he coached. For example, see Bob Bradley bringing a few Egyptians and former players from his time in Europe to Los Angeles FC. See Bruce Arena calling in players he historically liked when he took over the United States Men’s National Team.

Hudson just spent an entire off-season bringing his guys to MLS: some New Zealanders and a few others to fit his system. Would Nick Fury have taken an offer to join the Justice League right after recruiting and assembling The Avengers?

Also, have fun trying to buy players from the team you just left after less than a year on the job at a remotely reasonable price. Sunderland will still receive three years worth of parachute payments for getting relegated which will soften the blow and could bring talent that would otherwise avoid an apparently sinking ship.

Lastly, coaching in England is an absolute meat grinder. Dysfunctional teams can easily have three managers in a single year as the pressures of expectation with promotion or relegation mount. With Sunderland hoping to stabilize, any prolonged struggles could cost that new manager, Hudson or otherwise, their job as fans panic hoping for yet another savior. The lifespan of these coaches can be measured in months, not years.

The one thing the Sunderland opening has over Colorado is the visibility throughout Europe. If Hudson has aspirations for coaching in a top league on the European continent, coaching in MLS isn’t a great place to get seen or earn respect. If he were to get Sunderland promoted then have them midtable the following year, maybe a bigger club takes a chance on him. If he does well there, maybe an even bigger club comes calling.

Make Champions League, give Barcelona et al. a run for their money, then maybe he gets an interview after whoever replaces Arsen Wenger at Arsenal gets sacked.

That’s really it.

Last Word:

Most coaches in Hudson’s position rarely give such a long-winded response to a rumor like this. Hudson clearly has his roots dug in at Colorado. Unless Sunderland is offering him a substantially larger contract with technical control and a budget larger than what seems possible at the Stadium of Light right now (given financial fair play rules), I don’t see him leaving.

Sunderland might want Hudson. But all signs point to him not being interested and staying.

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