Birflatt Boy: end the agony, Mr Short

One of Monsieur Salut’s regrets is that although certain readers have taken a strongly pro-Bruce – or anti-kneejerk – line none has recently accepted the open invitation to put such thoughts into a full-sized posting. Yet there’s no shortage of hostile comment, as the latest Birflatt Boy offering demonstrates …

Let’s not beat about the bush on this issue.

The overwhelming majority of Sunderland fans not only want him gone after the debacle of losing at home to Wigan. Not only do the fans want him gone, they expected him to be gone already.

Mick Horswill, on the Legends radio programme said he’d never previously heard a Sunderland crowd chant for the manager’s head during a game.

The scenes at the end of the Wigan game were unprecedented, and a clear sign of the growing disillusionment and frustration with the current management.

How could it be any other way after two victories at home since the first foot came over the threshold with a lump of coal and some Christmas cake?

The silence from the club is so far deafening. Few would have expected the bumbling incumbent to have remained in post.

By refusing to remove him, there is a real danger that the club will see the protests directed towards the chairman and owner.

Ellis Short may think that points gained against Wolves and/or Blackburn would quell the protests and signal that better times are ahead.

In doing so he may paint himself into a corner, where his own credibility is lost.

Games against Wolves and Blackburn (as indeed against Wigan and Fulham) provide a real opportunity to put points on the board for any club in this division.

Nothing is proven by victory in either or both of these games, whereas a great deal will be learned from failure to win either of both of them.

Unfortunately, Mr Short is creating a situation which may be self defeating. If this is Steve Bruce’s last chance, then what happens if we win both games? The likelihood is that Short will allow Bruce will keep his job. The more important question is will the fans? A marginal win say 1-0 or 2-1 at Molyneux isn’t going to assuage the critics and those that began the anti-Bruce chants.

These protests were a long time coming, and the drink that is brewed the longest is always the strongest. Now they have started they will not stop. They will grow in both volume and intensity until they are heard, and they get what they want. Anti-Bruce feeling has reached boiling point, and against all the odds he remains in his job. The anger will not dissipate but it may refocus; this time on the chairman and owner.

Imagine that we win at Wolves and again against Blackburn, but then suffer heavy defeats on the road at Spurs and QPR? Having failed to remove the manager after losing at home to the bottom club in the league, he can hardly then dispense with Bruce’s services for losing at Spurs or QPR. That really would be a nonsense.

It would also be the midpoint of the season with fixtures coming up against Everton and Man City. By prolonging the agony to potentially another two games, any incoming manager will have been denied the chance to fully assess the playing squad before the January window opens.

Some of our fans were arguing several weeks ago that it was too early to dispense with the manager. However those few short weeks have taken us to the point where very shortly it will have become too late. In doing so Ellis Short, who seems to be a very reclusive figure may well have lost he credibility of the fans who have placed so much faith in him. For others who expected him to take a firmer line than the genial former chairman Niall Quinn he will appear to have feet of clay.

These are troubled times at Sunderland, and who really knows what’s in the mind of Ellis Short. We can of course only speculate, wait and see (and of course protest most vigorously now that we’ve started).

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

39 Responses to “Birflatt Boy: end the agony, Mr Short” Subscribe

  1. Bill Taylor November 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    The on-line Free Dictionary defines knee-jerk reaction as “an immediate unthinking emotional reaction produced by an event or statement to which the reacting person is highly sensitive; – in persons with strong feelings on a topic, it may be very predictable.”
    The anti-Bruce lobby may be emotional, highly sensitive and predictable, but there’s nothing unthinking about them. This is the product of months of seeing Sunderland being willfully driven downhill. Their wish to see Bruce replaced has proved to be fully justified. Had it been done sooner, we may not have been in the trouble we’re in.
    BB puts the case for Bruce’s immediate removal very well. The reason we haven’t had a dissenting piece of similar length is that the pro-Bruce faction is extremely thin on the ground and cannot come up with a sustained, cogent argument. The best we’ve had from the likes of Davey are half-truths, distortions and statements taken out of context. That and a fearful, “The board MUST know better than us and we should have faith in them and Bruce case something even worse happens.” Something worse IS happening. Every bloody week.
    I’ve lost a lot of respect for Niall Quinn through all this. Loyalty to a manager is one thing, blind stubborn stupidity is another. And that’s what we’re seeing from Quinn at the moment. I just wish Ellis Short would stop listening to him.
    And if this is a knee-jerk reaction from me, I make no apology for it.

  2. hilary November 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Indeed, Bill. I am beginning to lose some respect for Niall. Is it loyalty to a friend, or a fear of admitting he made the wrong choice for the second time-I find it perplexing. Much is made of Bruce being a nice man, but surely his charisma isnt so great that it distracts to this extent from his obvious managerial weaknesses.

    I think from a PR point of view all this is being handled very badly. The protracted silence is unsatisfactory. Ellis Short is obviously rather introverted and communication doesnt seem to be his forte. To use Bruce’s own favourite phrase- I am disappointed , I expected more from the Board. Things are not as I thought, perhaps I was naive in expecting more.

  3. Alan November 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    I could not care about S Bruce. His team selection his subs and his tactics are all wrong he calls him self a manager then I should call myself the pope get yr self away from SAFC and don’t look back ELLIS grow some balls and kick him out we do not want him before he makes you look like. an idiot as well

  4. Tim November 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Excellent comments from both Bill and Hilary. When Quinn became somthing other than chairman we expected some action regarding Bruce from ES. It’s not clear to me whether Bruce is being propped up vicariously by Quinn or whether Short hasn’t quite grasped how bad the situation has become. That’s why BB’s comments about the response of the fans from now on is exactly on the money.

    As you say Hilary. ES’s idea of communication seems to be to keep his mouth shut and say nowt. He is still relatively new to football, but needs to realise that the fans will come after him if he fiddles with this for any longer. He’s almost inviting further protests and unrest by saying nothing.

  5. davey November 30, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    BB says (yet again)
    Nothing is proven by victory in either or both of these games, whereas a great deal will be learned from failure to win either of both of them.

    Sums your parochial mindset up in one sentence

    As for the rest of you starting to turn against Quinn and Short – without those 2 we would probably be languising in League 2 at the moment

  6. hilary November 30, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Davey, it is not a matter of turning against Quinn and Short. I acknowledge and have said so many times the enormous impact of Niall Quinn, in particular, on the fortunes of Sunderland. He is the best thing that has happened to the Club in my lifetime in many ways. However you can value people without agreeing with everything they do. In this situation I think he has failed to act with the degree of objectivity that |I would like to see.

    As for Short, we really dont know a great deal about him. He has obviously invested heavily and that is good. Whether he is a good chairman is another matter. He perhaps lacks the temperament to be a figurehead/spokesperson. Some of the great things about Quinn’s chairmanship at Safc were his communication skills and personal warmth, you felt he was someone with a direct line to the supporters. The silence for the Club after Saturday’s events is unsatisfactory I think. I hope at least there is some communication today.

  7. Birflatt Boy November 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    You clearly don’t understand the word parochial. That’s what comes from spending all of your time with cucumbers and cabbages.

    Don’t use words you don’t understand Davey, as they make you look even dafter than your continual defence of the indefensible.

  8. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    If the on-line rumours are true, SB could be in line for the “Brass Neck of the Year” award. The word is that when Ellis Short has him up on the carpet Bruce, far from pleading to keep his job, will ask for more money to spend in January — presumably to dig us out of the quagmire we’ll be in by then if he hasn’t been shown the door.
    There hasn’t been such cheek since the kid who murdered his parents and then asked for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.

  9. davey November 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    BB

    You are unable to grasp even the simple things – You do NOT speak for the majority of Sunderland supporters , much as you would like to think you do
    Over months of dissing me – you repeatedly accuse me of misusing statistics , and proffering “if”scenarios , and not sticking to facts . Well re – read your offering – “if” we win “if” QPR and Spurs were to beat us .-

    My use of the word parochial is absolutely spot on , to describe you – if we went unbeaten till the end of the season and had a good run in Europe – you would still want rid of the “useless fat Geordie B******

  10. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    That’s simply not true. The idea of being unbeaten till the end of the season is ridiculous for any team but a good run in Europe would bring great kudos Steve Bruce. Or would have brought, I should say, because it’s so far out of the question to be beyond consideration. And, for the record and in the interests of accuracy (a word, like “parochial,” of which Davey seems unsure about the meaning), I don’t believe Birflatt Boy has ever included the manager’s weight or geographic origin among his reasons for getting rid of SB. His arguments, as have the majority here, are simply predicated upon performance and ability — or Bruce’s woeful lack thereof.

  11. Birflatt Boy November 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    As I’ve said before Mr Taylor with regard to Davey, there’s really no point in arguing with an idiot because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with their experience.

    You are quite right. I have never referred to Bruce as a FGB or whatever as his Wallsend roots are irrelevant. He hasn’t played for the Mags or managed them and is therefore a completely different kettle of fish to the likes of Chopra and Clark.

    The word “parochial” of course is an appropriate term for someone unable to see past his allotment fence.

    You will note from the comments that various postings are attracting that my views are highly representative of the views of Sunderland supporters. That’s something for you to grasp Davey. The rest of your comments are not even worthy of response, and in any case Mr Taylor has dealt with them in the most eloquent manner already.

    You man Bruce is worse than Butcher Davey. That takes some doing.

  12. davey November 30, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Bill – I was giving an outrageous example to show how parochial BB is ie of limited or narrow outlook or scope
    With him it’s Bruce out at all cost ; I say give him at least 2 more games . Bringing a new manager , new backroom staff etc etc – , who probably wouldn’t get the resources to make wholesale changes in January (which is a nightmare transfer window – inflated prices etc) and he certainly wouldn’t be able to get rid of 5 or 6 players in that window , could totally backfire on us . Look what happened when the Mags sacked Allardyce

  13. Birflatt Boy November 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Give him two more games proves nothing for reasons we’ve all been stating. We can’t score goals. 2 home wins in 15 games and a worse record than Butcher. What does it take for the penny to drop with you?

    I’m convinced that you are a Mag now. Only someone who doesn’t have the best interests of the club at heart could espouse the opinions that you hold.

  14. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    The Mags and Allardyce are irrelevant. This is Sunderland and Bruce.
    You’re as timid as he is. “At least 2 more games…” And then what? We’d be that much closer to the window and probably that much further in the hole. It’s keeping Bruce that’s going to backfire on us.
    It’s not a question of Bruce out at all cost. It’s Bruce that’s costing us.
    And what you offered here wasn’t an outrageous example of anything except your inability to deal with the cold hard facts. You’re the one with the narrow outlook. That and fear of making decisive changes when events clearly call for them. You just want to hunker down and hope for the best. Pathetic.

  15. Tim November 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    BB could well be right about Bruce’s Number 1 fan.

    Davey can you hear yourself marra? Another two games. Two games we must win to avoid being cut adrift.

    You are either a Mag or just lacking in any common sense, one of the two.

  16. davey November 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Davey can you hear yourself marra?

    The allotment connection is becoming a bore now !!!!!!!

  17. davey November 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Give him two more games proves nothing for reasons we’ve all been stating. We can’t score goals.

    So what’s a new manager going to do – play himself at centre forward !!!!!!!

    We finished 10th last season – you have only given him 13 games in the league since then !!!!!

  18. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    A new manager could be expected to come up with team selections and tactical decisions that COULD score goals. Bruce has no idea how to use his players. As has been said over and over, it was more luck than good management that put us in 10th spot last season. “Only” 13 games? The writing has been on the wall a lot longer than that.
    By the way, I think the exclamation-mark key on your computer needs looking at. It’s sticking. Just like you.

  19. davey November 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Bill – you finish where you finish in the league – luck has nothing to do with it – we finished tenth on merit because we had more points and better goal difference than the teams below us

    It’s not tactical decisions that score goals – it’s players putting the ball in the net – we had about 8 good chances first half against Wigan – it wasn’t Bruce’s fault that no one took advantage of them

    Then the farce at the end – it’s not Bruce’s fault that Brown and Westwood decided to lob the ball to each other and make an almighty cock up . A draw would have kept the point differential between us and Wigan – but it was a “must win” game . How on earth we have “must win” games 12 games into the season beggars belief

  20. A T Hedley November 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    The hammer of Thor strikers and peals of thunder and flashes of lightning girdle BB’s head as his successful rapier stabs into the heart of the matter. Davey it is time to take off the blinkers. Bruce may have bought some top quality and some fairly good players. As a wheeler dealer he has done well financially for the club, as a manager he has proved as useful as a wet fart in a high wind.

    Week after week we hear the same excuses trotted out but nothing changes on the pitch. We see chance after chance squandered but our defensively minded manager does nothing to rectify the position, one up front is more often than not the order of the day.

    Cross after cross flies in and there is no one in the box. The guys who are scoring are left off the bench or are brought into the game so late it has no impact.

    It was winning the last two matches that would have had an impact, projecting us up to about 8th place. winning one or both or even drawing the next two games will do little for the club or to avoid changing a manager with little vision and even less idea about keeping good players at the club.

    So I will trek off to Wolves, out of loyalty, hoping to see a goal fest for the lads but knowing our record against them is not good. Having been a “Bruce deserves a chance supporter” I have concluded that he has had more chances than the Saturday morning pictures heroes and, without exception, he has singularly failed to meet the adage “and with one bound the mighty Bruce escaped his bonds and defeated his enemies”

    Well if he hasn’t learned how to do so by now there is not a Black Cats hope in hell he will do so before the end of the season. If he won from now to Christmas his success to date has largely been down to luck rather than good judgement and if we are blessed with such success it will be due to players finding form rather than the tactical nous of our manager.

    What the answer is I do not know as I certainly do not fancy the petulant Irishman. The former Liverpool manager might do the trick and Moyes knows what he is up to but until any of that happens I shall not hold my breath and will continue the voodoo rituals in the hope of resurrecting Brian Clough.

  21. davey November 30, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Good points AT and all made without any personal insults towards myself .
    Yes I too , can’t figure out some of Bruce’s selections and substitutions , I also don’t think O’Neill is right for us , although please not Benitez . And like yourself I shall be at Wolves hoping to see a goal fest . In fact the only match I have missed this season was home to Stoke – perhaps it would be better if I stopped away

  22. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    I dunno about cabbages, Davey, but there’s a leek in your logic.
    It’s having the right men playing in the right positions that leads to goal-scoring. We miss chances because there’s no one there to put them in the net. Bruce hasn’t a clue how to deploy his men. As Mr Hedley says, the guys who are proven scorers hardly get onto the field most weeks. All Bruce wants to do is defend – play for a point. But I’m sure you have no problem with that.

  23. Tim November 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    For what it’s worth folks. Here’s my two pennorth. We are wasting too much time arguing with the village idiot when we should be discussing the real matter ie what is going on at the club and specifically what Short is going to do about this?

  24. davey November 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Tim – nice but Dim – just because someone has a different viewpoint to yourself does not make them a village idiot
    Short will do what he feels necessary , when he feels it’s necessary . He wont be bullied into decisions by foul mouthed so called supporters

  25. Birflatt Boy November 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Thanks to some excellent postings from Messrs Taylor and Hedley, as well as Hilary & Tim who’s well timed reminder of the purpose of debate has been lost down Allotment Alley, where the only response is as inane and the previous post and indeed the one before that.

    It clearly doesn’t matter what Bruce does. He could probably head round to Davey’s house, ravish his bride on a bed of radishes and beetroot, shoot his dog and yet Davey would still be telling us that Bruce really got short shrift and needed two more games.

    There is no rhyme nor reason for your defending Bruce other than that you have been doing it for so long that it’s now force of habit. To have been wrong for so long it must be difficult to admit when you are so far adrift of logic and the ability to reason. You are just making a fool of yourself now.

  26. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Yeah, show a bit of respect, Tim. Davey’s worked long and hard to make himself the village idiot.

  27. A T Hedley November 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I love debate and reasoned argument and without a dissenting voice we are merely sparrows trying to sing from the same hymn book. So whilst I am happy to poke fun I don’t generally favour abuse of someone who does not agree with an argument I am seeking to promote, because just as there is a reasonable chance that the light at the end of the tunnel is not necessarily the on coming train, the chances are that knowing our luck it will be.

    Bruce might lead us to eight successive victories in which case those calling Davey names will feel like playground bullies. Now the chance of this happening might be less than me waking up next to Claudia Cardinale in her youth but I would like to think my prayers might be answered and it could still happen.

    I am willing to put up a Charity Wager Challenge to Davey of £10 with an extra £ donated for every win if Bruce reaches eight successive winning matches payable to the charity of Davey’s choice. The codicil is that Davey, in his confidence of backing Bruce, offers me similar terms if they lose.

    Now before Salut gets jumpy this is not a bet and does not contravene the gaming laws as neither the challenger nor the acceptor benefits personally. We are just undertaking to make a donation to the other’s chosen charity in certain circumstances.

    It simply might be a gauge of how deeply you believe in the premise that you are posing to us Davey

  28. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Go on, Davey. It beats whippet-racing!

  29. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Cancel that bet! http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/990377/struggling-sunderland-sack-bruce?cc=5901

  30. A T Hedley November 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Well that is the shortest Wager for Charity since we set it up on the old AOL Board, Bruce has gone. Mind I wouldn’t want to prejudice your decision Davey.

  31. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Steve Bruce is disappointed.

  32. hilary November 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Respect to Short, despite my growing doubts, he has acted decisively and I was impressed by his statement

  33. Birflatt Boy November 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Terrific postings from Messrs Hedley and Taylor and cf course Hilary.

    Davey has gone off to presumably clear his desk at the SoL or possibly more likely to have a chat with his turnips. He’s be sitting down there all alone with a face like a bulldog licking urine from a nettle.

    Shame that your charities didn’t get to benefit though Mr Hedley.

  34. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I feel a lot better about this weekend now. Let’s hope the team gets an adrenalin boost out of this which, coupled with a bit of decent selection, should get us three points closer to redemption.

  35. Jeremy November 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    What a relief. Relief tempered with the reality of Eric Black taking the reins.

    Do we really have any sense of what Black is about? Is he not too closely associated with Steve Bruce to be able to make a success of things. The next installment is coming soon.

  36. Bill Taylor November 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Let’s hope he does a Hughton.

  37. Jeremy November 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    I’m disappointed that Black should be continuing in any capacity as he was part of the problem and not a part of the solution in my mind. He’s a Bruce man alright and so is Spink.

  38. Jeremy November 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Echo reporting a “strong rumour” that Hughes is travelling to the NE for an interview tomorrow.

  39. Birflatt Boy November 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Davey…………….(whisper)……………Davey…………..

    You can come out now. The big bad wolf has gone………

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