Birflatt Boy: stairways to hell and the cauldron of negativity

Originally used here to deplore the anti-Steve Bruce sentiments expressed at Salut! Sunderland, while overlooking the strong voices raised in his defence, cauldron of negativity is a phrase that has stuck. The shadier and shadier Birflatt Boy, a fully paid-up member of the “Negativos”, invokes the debuts of Led Zeppelin and long-forgotten German urban terrorists in support of an assault on the loose band of “Positivos” and fencesitters, M Salut among them, holding out with varying degrees of conviction against dismissal …

Over the past four decades it would be hard to find a time when Sunderland’s support has been so sharply divided into two distinct camps.

Variously described as “optimists” or “pessimists,” “”BiBs” or BoBs” (Bruce in Brigade or out depending on your point of view), or just as “Positivos” for those who fail to see the limitations and poor management of Steve Bruce. The last sentence will tell even virgins to the pages of Salut! Sunderland where Birflatt sits.

I’ve been sat there so long in fact that there is a numbness in the buttocks, due to the constant accumulation of evidence in support of the “Negativos” hypothesis seems to have been largely ignored by the club’s owner.

The pro-Bruce brigade will take the flimsiest sign that things are on the up to support their man.

You wouldn’t think that a 2-2 draw at home to West Brom would be a job saving result for Bruce, but so it turned out to be.

“Look at how we fought back” they say. “Yes, and look at how we were 2-0 down at home in six minutes,” I say. “What a great result at Bolton though” they argue, as if inflicting a seventh home defeat (in seven games) on a hapless Trotters team that have endured the worst home run of results in their entire history.

So what? Well, we managed a home draw against Villa which according the to the Positivos was another sign that things are on the up. No, it bloody well isn’t and neither is the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford. I was talking to a Man Utd fan yesterday thought it funny that they “could play like s*** and still get three points.” He has a point, to add to those three.

We lost, we didn’t score and hence we came back pointless. The opposition don’t take us seriously. And yet still there are those who tell us to be patient. Be patient for what? We’ve been patient with Bruce since February and we seem to have become worse. We’ve been patient all of our lives, for God’s sake!

The Positivos tell us that Sir Alex Ferguson thought we “played well”. Well, isn’t that great news? We should chill the champagne. How magnanimous of him. We could have emailed the points to Old Trafford on Friday afternoon, instead of turning up like some sacrificial goat at a pagan festival. Amusement for someone else but not us.

It would have been more use to us if he had come out and told the media: “We were a poor side today, very jittery after our mauling by City, but we were lucky to be playing such a poor team that pose no real threat, even though Lindergaard looked as if he was a nervous wreck. They seem to be trying to build a team around Bendtner, who doesn’t even belong to them, which is strange.”

Is avoiding defeat at home against the likes of Villa and the Baggies the best that we can hope for? Are we happy because we lost at Old Trafford again? Let’s get some perspective here. We didn’t get murdered, and we didn’t get played off the park, but we never looked like getting anything either.

And we have failed to win at Old Trafford since the year of the Prague and Paris Springs. The Vietnam War was in full swing, Baader Meinhof had just started bombing German department stores, and Martin Luther King was assassinated. If you haven’t got the point yet, this is the year that Mattel’s Hot Wheels were introduced into the shops, and Led Zeppelin gave their first ever public performance at the University of Surrey. Yes, folks it’s a while ago. Too long, but it’s only part of the picture.

We’ve had crumbs to feed off for decades. On occasion there haven’t been crumbs, and we have sunk so low in expectation that we lick and suck at the stains which mark the tablecloth.

There was a debate on the Blackcats list recently where some of our supporters suggested that Newcastle Utd is a bigger club than Sunderland. Have some self respect for goodness sake!

Quite what Steve Bruce has done to hang on to his job is not evident in results or performances. Then he blames the fans for their unrealistic expectations. The only unrealistic expectations that the Negativos have had is that a manager who has squandered millions, whose “improvements” to the squad are invariably inferior to those who he has replaced, and who doesn’t seem to be able to hang on to any of his stars.

So for all of those people who are still sitting on the fence, here’s the word from Birflatt. Get yourselves down to Boots and purchase a good quality set of tweezers and some antiseptic. Take a look down the league table and jump from your perch. Pour yourselves a bowl full of hot water and see if you can get those spelks out of your behinds.

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83 Responses to “Birflatt Boy: stairways to hell and the cauldron of negativity” Subscribe

  1. scotter November 9, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    I propose the Birflatt Boy be the inaugural recipient of the—– “Wand of Negativity” to go with the cauldron he polishes so brightly on regular occasions.

    He’ll have to master the art of balance to use it properly and point it in the right direction too.(perhaps Quinny should have gone for the Irish Presidency !!)

  2. davey November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    His arguments don’t stand up . If managers were sacked for every bad run of results , most Premiership clubs would be sacking 2 or 3 managers a year . Tony Pullis would be on his way out now

  3. salutsunderland November 9, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    I am closer to Davey than Birflatt on this. The results throughout 2011 have not been impressive but it is illogical and unfair to dismiss, as Bruce’s critics do, the 10th place finish. As I have said repeatedly, those claiming he “got lucky” with the last games would not have been charitable and said he “got unlucky” had they gone against us and we’d finished three places lower. After the serious bad luck we’d had since January, I think we (he) probably deserved a bit a of good fortune in any case.

    This season is different in that we now have a squad that must finally be seen as his and he must expect to be judged more rigorously. There have been signs that the team is coming together: if you look at the last few games, for example, no one in their right mind would regard an away win, two home draws and narrow defeats at Champions League sides as justifying dismissal of the manager.

    Against that, and making whatever allowances we will for bad luck or decisions made beyond his control, we still have a parlous striker situation, we still lack midfield creativity and while we all, I hope, approach each game with complete commitment to the cause, wherever in the world we find ourselves, few of us expect anything other than a nervous couple of hours.

    I remain willing to give him more time to turn recent relative promise into results. But while my heart is with the positivos, I could be swayed by a poor return from the coming three games, always provided Ellis Short had someone else not only available but demonstrably better.

  4. Birflatt Boy November 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    The “balance” is more than adequately provided by your offices Davey. There is little to be “positive” about however, as the results and most of the performance stink.

    How, given the monies spent Salut could be worse than Steve Bruce?

    Thanks for the wand Scotter. I will wave it and wave it till we are rid of this loser and we have someone with man managerment skills and a tactical awareness which surpasses a Craster Kipper! Can you feel the draft?

  5. Bill Taylor November 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    M Salut! seems to be in a self-contradictive mode here: “There have been signs that the team is coming together… we still have a parlous striker situation, we still lack midfield creativity… few of us expect other than a nervous couple of hours….”
    If that’s “coming together,” I’d hate to see his definition of falling apart! As to approaching each game with “complete commitment to the cause,” that hasn’t exactly been the case, has it?
    I can’t help looking at our arch-enemies at Sid James park. People have written here that the Mags will eventually be “found out;” that they’re not prepared for a run of injuries; that their luck will change. All I’m seeing, though, is the club that I hate sitting 12 places higher in the Premiership than the club that I love; with two-and-a-half times as many points. Four home wins, three away wins, two draws at home and away, no defeats; as opposed to one home and one away win, two home and away draws and five defeats. If Sunderland wins and Newcastle loses the next five games, we’ll be level pegging. Somehow, I can’t see that happening.
    How much more time must Bruce be given to turn recent “relative” (key word, that) promise into results? There’s been way too much fence-sitting already.
    I don’t think this is a negative attitude; simply realistic. Time’s up.

  6. Joan November 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    From Wikipedia: In September [1989], [Manchester] United suffered a humiliating 5–1 away defeat against fierce rivals Manchester City. Following this and an early season run of six defeats and two draws in eight games, a banner declaring “Three years of excuses and it’s still crap…ta-ra Fergie” was displayed at Old Trafford, and many journalists and supporters called for Ferguson to be sacked

    I rest my case

  7. Birflatt Boy November 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Joan; the sad fact that a man who went on to be one of the greatest of all time was once under pressure is irrelevant. Using this logic no manager would ever get the sack.

    Birflatt thinks you’ve been reading too much Voltaire.

  8. davey November 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Again BB – someone (Joan) comes up with an excellent thought – and it’s dismissed out of hand as irrelevant
    Using your logic – EVERY manager would get the sack

  9. Birflatt Boy November 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    No Davey. only managers who do not meet the following criteria would be sacked

    * Spending vast sums of money on inferior replacements
    * Repeated failure to replace strikers when sold
    * Over reliance on the loan system
    * Tactical ineptitude
    * Inability to motivate the team and get results
    * Poor record (dire in Bruce’s case) over protracted period (say nine or ten months)

    Joan’s point is that failing managers should not be sacked because they all will come good eventually. I have no wish to be rude, but that is clearly patent nonsense. We’d still have Malcolm Crosby using that logjc. Managers would never lose their jobs regardless of performance.

  10. scotter November 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    The only sentence I can recall of Voltaire is too rude to repeat, but keeping on the French motif the Madame Defarge school appears to be well represented here (entrenched and intractable).

    No matter who we have, or who we get, as manager there will always be a solid core of dissent because that is their nature, pouncing on any view that deviates from their own.

    We have to live with it, opinions matter. Balance apparently does not.

  11. tim November 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Where would we be if bad managers never got the old heave ho?

    It would be like Sunderland Borough Council.

    Is Joan suggesting that Bruce should never get the sack?

  12. Beth November 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    “Three years of excuses and it’s still crap…ta-ra Fergie” was displayed at Old Trafford, and many journalists and supporters called for Ferguson to be sacked

    I rest my case

    Are you seriously comparing Bruce’s situation to SAF? Ferguson had won trophies with Aberdeen before he took over at Old Trafford for a start. Bruce, on the other hand has a record of a single promotion I believe. If we stick with him he’ll have a relegation to add to that. What a ridiculous comparison to make. To offer support to Bruce with a record like he’s got just shows how low our expectations are these days. Bruce’s remarks about those expectations just show how far out of touch he is.

  13. Birflatt Boy November 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    I forgot to say that your comparisons with Newcastle Utd speak volumes Mr Taylor.

    Lousy chairman and owner they seemed to have, wretched recent history. Hugely in debt. Sold their three best players. Sacked a good manager in Chris Hughton, and were the laughing stock at that time.

    What’s the difference between them and us now I ask?

    Pardew continues to surpass all expectations whilst Bruce consistently fails to live up to any realistic expectations, but does enough to keep the Positivos posting amidst their contentment.

    Keep on smiling folks as we plummet.

  14. davey November 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    The difference is BB – they had some good fortune (against us as well) . Now the fans are behind them , and they are going from strength to strength . A couple of bad results and the fans will start to dissent and the team will start to fall
    Do you see any correlation hire ???

  15. Birflatt Boy November 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Your opinions Davey, I note are consistently derived from optimism. anticipation of what might happen. Never (and you will correct me surely if I am wrong), are your views based on evidence accumulated over time, or bald facts. That is the only reason that you can survive in your Positivo bubble which is constantly bathed in soft yellow light.

    Their good fortune against us, was that they turned out against a team that was ill prepared (by Bruce; and not for the first time) in a derby encounter. Their run is no fluke Davey, much as we might wish it otherwise, and neither is ours.

  16. chatnoir_safc November 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Moi j’ai lu plus que ma juste part de Voltaire. En fait je concède que j’suis plus compétent en les œuvres de Camus que les œuvres de Voltaire. SVP disez-moi si ça c’est pertinent…

    ‘…whose “improvements” to the squad are invariably inferior to those who he has replaced…’

    Larsson is inferior to Riveros? Wes Brown is inferior to Nosworthy? John O’Shea is inferior to McCartney? Bendtner is inferior to Jones?

    Bruce, like all managers, does sometimes get his transfers wrong, but in this calendar year, we’ve seen some impressive footballers join the squad: footballers who’ve won the Premier League; footballers who’ve competed in the Champion’s League.

    I understand that you’re determined to give Bruce no credit for any good (or I suppose, even acknowledge that Sunderland have done any good this season) but surely you must recognise that without the contributions of Brown and Larsson this season, we’d be in a far, far worse place.

    Everyone is different, everyone looks at the world in a different way. There’s no right or wrong state of mind to possess when determing the overarching goodness and/or badness present. But I find it baffling, even a little sad, that you can find no joy in watching a victory (like at Bolton) by the football club that you love.

    You have to want to enjoy life; you have to want to find the good in the world. Upon my person I bear the scars inflicted by the last man that I loved. Some deeper, and more livid than others; some will never fade. And everytime I look at them, I force myself to believe that it’s not all doom and gloom out there. That there is good; there is sunshine; there are roses.

    So be determined not to enjoy your football; no-one’s going to take that away from you. But you’ll only have yourself to blame when you miss the good times. It is with a spuriousness (one that I rather dislike about myself to be fair) that I think of the supporters who eschewed trips to Chelsea and West Ham last season, because ‘we’d never get anything.’

    To paraphrase the words of that noted philosopher Forrest Gump, you really never know what you’re going to get.

    Enter each match unburdended by knowledge of the League Table. Enter each match unemcumbered by how well/how poorly Newcastle may be doing. Look at each match as a fresh challenge; a new day. Anything can happen, and anything usually does happen.

    Or don’t.

  17. davey November 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    BB – yes I’m optimistic I’m optimistic we will have a good run of results and the toon will have a bad run .
    My evidence is seeing the calibre of players at the club , far superior to those we have seen before .
    So far we have seen a season on season improvement (finishing position – that’s a fact ) under Bruce . The season is barely a quarter way in and you are having us relegated , If we don’t improve our position this season above tenth , then I shall join the dissenters .
    I mentioned the win at Bolton -and said Bolton would come good at home this season – was derided by the ABB who said Bolton were doomed – if it wasn’t you i apologise – then Bolton 5 Stoke 0 . How the prophets of doom , speak too soon

  18. vince richardson November 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    This article sums up me and the wife perfectlty,she shouts for Brucies head every week…regardless of the result! ,and I am prepared to wait…a little longer anyway.

    2 reasons

    1,Where do we expect to finish?.I reckon at least 10th to 7th,is that still achievable…yes.

    2.Who would we get in better than Bruce?….I dont know but if we cannot whats the point?We usually do not, from past experience.We usually end up with a second rater.Now we may already have a second rater as manager so whats the point of getting another one after all this money spent,as he will kick out half the team and off we go again.

    I dont like the football we have playe if I am honest,but Bendter,Whickam,Larsson,Sessignon,Westwood,Brown are all positives,they may still come good.

    Next 3 games I will review my position(or marraige)…that’s all Id ask.

  19. Birflatt Boy November 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Very nice post chat noir, but your argument holds no water when you are making comparisons such as these….

    Larsson is inferior to Riveros? Wes Brown is inferior to Nosworthy? John O’Shea is inferior to McCartney? Bendtner is inferior to Jones?

    Riveros barely played under Bruce, and neither did McCartnely. Nosworthy was not his player and it’s a long time since he commanded a first team place.

    Is Vaughan better than Cana or Garner than Malbranque. It’s interesting that you should choose Jones as a comparison for Bendtner despite the fact that he left before either Bent or Gyan. Bendtner is a loanee which further sinks your comparisons if they were not already perishing on the rocks of a more appropriate comparison.

    Other more appropriate comparisons might be whether a right footed left back in preferable to Danny Collins, or whether Vaughan and Gardner and indeed Cattermole are really any better than Grant Leadbitter or Dean Whitehead. Is Ji or Wickham better than Bent, Jones, Gyan or Welbeck?

    We have one striker who has any Premier League experience prior to this season who is fit, and he is on loan. At the start of last season we began with Bent and Jones.

    If this is progress in your mind and you don’t find yourself cringeing under more considered comparisons then I will be very much surprised.

    Your position does not stand up to analysis, and you can bury your head in the sand about ignoring the league table and the performance of that lot up the road, but then the most reasonable comparison would be between yourself and King Canute.

  20. scotter November 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Yes Camus is more fitting even though he was a crap goalkeeper.

    Irony however is in the English tradition.Isn’t it ironic that the Negativos case is predicated by being more aspirational than the Positivos, that’s what makes them so frustrated.

  21. Plan B November 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    I sense that BB yearns for a wind of change, as I do. We reward mediocrity at SAFC, it’s what we do. Tenth Place you say? We were 6th and quite a few points clear of mid-table at one point, but our manager lacks the drive and vision to really progress us. We’ll always finish a few places lower with SB than we could with good management – there are managers out there that could have taken us to 9th then 7th in the last 2 years, and have a better current squad than SB has provided us with. If all we’re going to do is mull around with the West Brom’s, Stoke’s and Wolves then we’ll get relegated eventually. We should have, and should still, thank Steve Bruce for his time here and say we have to move forward. We’ve even done this before under Reid and Murray, Reid stayed too long and we paid the ultimate price which took us years to recover from. Do we never learn from anything? Well ran clubs are ruthless, think Hodgson at Liverpool and Scolari at Chelsea to name but 2. Hell even West Brom sacked a manager last year who did a good job there to bring in Hodgson as they simply saw him as a much better manager. What do we do? Nothing. We simply tell ourselves we aren’t like other clubs and that our current manager will turn into a world beater if we ‘give him time’. More fool us then. Mid table might have been the aim 2 years ago, now it has to be playing in europe. Or are we just going to sit back and watch the Stoke’s of this world do it instead?

  22. Birflatt Boy November 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    It comes down to the fact that you Positivos are very easily satisfied and the rest of us are not.

  23. scotter November 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Sorry BB Wrong again. Spelks firmly embedded!

  24. Birflatt Boy November 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Davey said “I mentioned the win at Bolton -and said Bolton would come good at home this season – was derided by the ABB who said Bolton were doomed – if it wasn’t you i apologise – then Bolton 5 Stoke 0 . How the prophets of doom , speak too soon

    Yes another heavy defeat for Stoke away from home after a long European trip. Just like when we beat them. Are Stoke’s performances going to be a barometer of everyone else’s form, when they have been travelling midweek? You might as well consult chicken entrails.

  25. davey November 10, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Again Chat |Noir excellent points – and dismissed out of hand , along with my own points re Bolton & Stoke .
    Parochial doesn’t have a look in

    Vaughan against Cana – 2 totally different types of player
    – as for Leadbitter and Whitehead – get a grip man

  26. Birflatt Boy November 10, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    Simple question for you Davey. Is Cattermole an improvment on Whitehead or Leadbitter?

  27. davey November 10, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Simple question for you Davey. Is Cattermole an improvment on Whitehead or Leadbitter?

    Simple answer for you BB – YES – by a country mile

  28. davey November 10, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Simple question for you BB , Is Meyler potentially better than any central midfielder ever seen at Sunderland ?

  29. Birflatt Boy November 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Davey. What has Meyler got to do with it? He was signed by Keane? What has this to do with this debate? Nothing is the answer.

    Meyler in my view has the ability to become a very good player but that is irrelevant and yet again from you it’s more from you about what might happen. It’s never about the here and now for you is it? It’s all “could” and “if.”

    You could argue that Ji is superior to Rod Belfitt that, Larsson is far superior to Howard Gayle and Westwood an improvement on Bob Boulder. Of course they are but this has absolutely nothing to do with the issue being discussed. I can only assume that you are winding me up with your remarks Davey so this will be my last comment on this thread.

  30. Joan November 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Well, I was a little concise with my previous post… work and all that. I’m not saying that managers should never be sacked, but that Bruce has only been at the club for just over 2 years. I don’t think many people would disagree that overall the squad is much stronger than the one he inherited, despite the unplanned departures of 2 key strikers. I don’t support everything he does (Sessegnon on his own up front) but I’m not sure who we could get in who would be better and success only comes with stability. Of course, sack a manager if you’re really plummeting, and going backwards but I don’t think we are. Right, back to work!

  31. Jeremy November 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    For me Joan, the question is not about whether the squad is stronger than the one he inherited. It is better, but any difference I think is marginal. The real benchmark is whether Bruce has continued to improve on what he had a year ago. I remain to be convinced, and that lack of conviction is based on performances and results of the course of the year.

    Whist we can acknowledge the “unplanned departure of 2 key strikers” that is all part of the manager’s bailiwick. Keep players happy when you can and make provision when you can see they are not settled. There was obvious disgruntlement with both Bent and Gyan which was so obvious that you could tell from the stands.

    I would urge caution when using the word “stability” which is overused in conversations about football. “Stability” is fine when things are going well, but you could remain “stable” all the way down to the Blue Socks League or whatever they call it these days. Poor results, bad signings and poor tactical sense are the real cause of “instability” and sacking the manager is a consequence of and not a cause of the “stability” that everybody craves. Only the consistently top clubs are stable, and even Chelsea, using your criteria would be “unstable” given their seasonal changes in management since Mourinho left. “Stability” is really just an illusion which is maintained by the atypically long tenures of Ferguson and Wenger. More successful clubs than Sunderland have been far more “unstable” in terms of their managerial turn over than Sunderland have. Our problem is that a considerable section of our fans have become so numbed by failure that we endure mediocrity for far too long. Only one manager in the last forty years has been sacked too early at our club, and that was Allan Durban some thirty years ago almost. All of the others were sacked far too late.

  32. davey November 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    BB – your comments are amazing . It’s a case of me , me , me – I don’t think you even bother to read what other people are saying !!
    “could and if” – aren’t everyones opinions based on that

    BB we “could” be relegated “if” we stick with Bruce

    Me – we “could” finish higher than last year “if” we stick with Bruce

    I was asking about Meyler as it was Bruce who has brought him into prominence , as he did with Henderson . I personally think Meyler is a far better player than Henderson ; but what the hell’s that got to do with anything – bit like chicken entrails

  33. Birflatt Boy November 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Davey. Meyler became established in the first team picture under Sbragia, not Bruce. He was already at the club and playing before Bruce even arrived. Get your facts straight.

    “Me, me, me” and “you, you, you.” Your postings are about your views and my postings about mine.

    You said BB we “could” be relegated “if” we stick with Bruce

    Me – we “could” finish higher than last year “if” we stick with Bruce”

    If you care to consult the original article as well as subsequent postings you will not find a single comment where I speculate about what “could” or “might” happen which is in direct contrast to your posting which are all “if” and “could.” You rely on what “might” conceivably happen because you have no evidence, trend, statistic or otherwise to support what has been an indefensible position for months now.

    My views are based on results, performances, tactics, and inept dealings with players wrt to incomings and outgoings. Your views are based purely on flights of fancy as that’s all you have to depend on when you can’t see what’s right in front of you.

    I bet you think Alvin Stardust was better than The Beatles eh?

    Bask in the yellow glow in Positivo world Davey. The sun never goes down there does it? Ignorance is bliss.

  34. davey November 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Bruce has definitely improved Meyler as he did with Henderson
    When I posted the true statistics for Bruce – the one and only posting where I used statistics – you brushed them off – saying something to the effect – statistics Davey – you can make them suit your case .
    Unfortunately BB you can’t make them suit your case – as the season is nowhere near completion – you’re talking about “months” – what patience you have
    Without resorting to your puerile personal attacks – it wouldn’t matter if we won all of the rest of our games this season – you would still “hate” Bruce , because that’s what it’s become a personal vendetta . The guy’s got more football knowledge in his little toe , than you have ever had . It’s not the time to be changing managers – thats my opinion . See where we are at the end of the season , and you can eat large chunks of humble pie – or chicken entrails whichever you prefer

  35. Birflatt Boy November 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    For goodness sake Davey. How many times do I have to remind you that Bruce’s failings did not begin in August.

    Which “statistics” are you referring to which I can’t suit my case? Worst start to the season than the last time we were relegated. Not an opinion, just a fact? Would that be an example?

    There you go again with your futurology. You should start doing the star signs for the Echo.

    There won’t be much humble pie being scoffed in Birflatt’s house Davey come the end of the season. I would be delighted if we won every game between now and the end of the season. I don’t hate Bruce at all. I think he’s a decent bloke actually, but he’s a poor manager as his results show. One of the worst that we’ve ever had and for pounds spent the worst by a country mile.

    I won’t be bothering with the chicken entrails though. Ibbitsons are out of them. Apparently you have a standing order for them.

  36. hilary November 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    The reality is that Bruce is a mediocre manager. There is nothing in his history or in the way that Sunderland have performed under him, to suggest that it is otherwise. For Joan to make an analogy between Bruce at Sunderland and Fergie at Man U is crazy. Bruce has had a number of managerial roles in which he has failed to transcend the ordinary. He does have some competence and can manage at a certain level, but there is no indication that he is someone with untapped potential.

    If Davey, Joan et al are happy with that then fair enough, but I would like the best for Sunderland and Bruce isnt it. I think that this will be the last time that I rehearse this argument. There is an intractable impasse.

  37. Jeremy November 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    Your comments (Hilary) pretty much sum up my feelings about the situation with SB. He’s killing my interest in SAFC to be honest. The sooner he’s gone the better all round.

  38. hilary November 12, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    I agree about him killing interest in the Club, Jeremy. There is nothing to look forward to with him in charge. We might win a few games here and there, we might stay up, but we will do this in an uninspiring manner. There is no sense of vision or his building something which will stand the test of time and confidently and emphatically establish us in the Premiership.

  39. Jeremy November 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    This is what frustrates me about the “Positivos” Hilary. Draw a couple of games and you’d think there’d been some kind of sea change. He might stumble through winning the occasional game, and just keep hanging on. I’m getting too old for just hanging on. The time has come for us to not only expect, but demand more than Bruce is capable of delivering. He’s a lot like a killer on death row getting a stay of execution repeatedly and hangs on in limbo for countless years. Avoiding death becomes the only purpose in life.

  40. hilary November 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Well put, Jeremy. That is exactly what it is like. We are treading water at a time, in which because of funding and support, we could be making real progress. It does feel deathly and there is a real sense of wasting a unique opportunity to move the Club forward.

  41. Jeremy November 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Yes I agree totally. Those of us over a certain age dreamed that one day we’d have the sort of financial backing that would release the power of SAFC. The Drummaville men contributed hugely to that and Ellis Short even more so. It is precisely what you say Hilary, “a unique opportunity” which is being squandered, and that’s the most galling thing about it. Bruce is attracting player of his own ilk. It easy some times to persuade ourselves that the likes of Bent, Cana and Gyan were just moving on for more money. Whist I don’t doubt that money is a major component, it seems highly probable that they became quickly disenchanted with Bruce as the cheerful bloke with a pint of mild at the end of the bar persona. The club desperately needs a manager with some chutzpah and charisma to carry us forward as well as a tactical brain. Bruce personifies a provincial outlook and attitude. You don’t even have to listen to him in interviews. Turn the sound off and watch the pictures and the impression remains. When he arrived he made noises about understanding the size of the club and the region etc. Maybe that’s a large part of the problem. He looks as if he fits the personality and character of the club all too well. In times when we need to attract international talent we need someone who looks comfortable in that world, not somebody who looks like he’s just come straight from his allotment. He’s football’s answer to Jack Duckworth. So much so that I think I’d settle for an Alec Gilroy even.

  42. hilary November 13, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    I absolutely agree with you Jeremy. Whilst I do acknowledge that money may have played a part in Gyan et al leaving the club, I also believe that they went in part on the realisation of Bruce’s shortcomings. Under Bruce we are going nowhere. He is unsophisticated and limited by his parochial and dated approach to his role. I am not taken in by the ‘Mr nice guy’ persona. If he got a better offer , Bruce would be off like a shot. I know you and others commented on Fergie’s personality defects and I agreed, however being everyone’s friend isnt necessarily a recipe for good management. Fergie’s passion for his club drives him at times to inappropriate and unfair behaviour. I don’t feel that Bruce has a passion for Sunderland and you feel that lack of passion in his squad. Jack Duckworth is a good analogy, although at least Jack had a ready wit and a twinkle. Bruce is the cheerful bloke at the end of the bar, but the bar is in Ponteland and he is drinking with Alan Shearer.

    Whilst I believe that he is obviously trying to do the job for us I still feel that even at a subconscious level his heart isnt totally in it. That would be OK if his deepest allegiances were with West Ham or Birmingham, but when they are so close I do think it could be a problem. A player such as Lee Clark managed divided loyalties, but the status and role of manager is a more significant one in relation to the progress of the team. This may not be a major factor, but the fact remains that he is a journeyman manager and we need something better. I am not asking for Guardiola, but for someone with the intelligence, professionalism and tactical awareness to move us forward.

  43. Jeremy November 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    He rarely shows any passion at all. His major demonstration of emotion is pure fear. When did you last see him smile or laugh at any point during a game? I don’t think that I’ve ever seen him in positive mood. He stands at the touchline with his buttocks clenched in complete fear.

    I’ve never held his Mag origins against him because he has never played for them, and I’ve always thought that makes a difference. We shouldn’t even consider signing born and bred Mags who have worn their shirt. The lessons are there. Your comments about him are very interesting because deep down he probably feels embarrassed to be managing Sunderland even at a subconscious level.

  44. hilary November 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Yes, I think you are right about his being embarrassed. He is someone who clearly wants to be liked, and there must be a degree of discomfort on his part when his domestic and social life is still deeply embedded north of the Tyne amongst his fellow Geordies.

  45. Birflatt Boy November 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    As if to underline the stumbling and faltering, according to the Metro.

    Sunderland striker Nicklas Bendtner has hinted he will not remain at the Stadium of Light once his loan spell from Arsenal ends, as he wants to play Champions League football.

    It’s a shame for him that the Champions League sides weren’t lining up for his signature back in August.

    More short termism from the manager again. You can’t build a team with loanees. This one won’t even be going back to his club and doesn’t want to stay. We are being used and abused. It’s yet another example of a loss of self respect.

  46. davey November 14, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    For once I agree with you BB – you can’t build a team with loanees . In fact we only have 1 loanee , so it’s difficult to see how even you , Hilary and Jeremy with your obvious superior football knowledge can even consider that “building a team with loanees”

  47. hilary November 14, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    I don’t think I have superior football knowledge-just a different opinion, Davey.

  48. davey November 14, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    No , it must be me , I have in my mind seen our team play better football (not every match of course) over the past 2 years , with better players than I have seen since I was a kid at Roker Park .

    Changing the tone a bit – I know some of the pro writers here follow the Blue Square etc ; we sponsored Blyth at the weekend , and had an excellent afternoon at Croft Park , hospitality was top class , very well organised there now . However there Spartans were a poor second to Gateshead who were superior in every department . They never gave up though and fought to the end which made for an enjoyable 90 mins . I shall follow Gateshead’s progress with interest now

  49. Bill Taylor November 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    When I wrote, just before the start of the season, about losing interest in a team that was being managed into mediocrity, it engendered a considerable amount of hostility, abuse and general dissent — including from Jeremy (fair play to him, he was neither hostile nor abusive and reacted more in sorrow than anger.)
    Seems I might have been right all along. The ironic thing is that I’ve found it impossible to disengage myself. I’m still a dyed in the red-and-white wool Mackem and I pay as close attention as ever. Mind you, “interest” is turning into the horrified fascination of watching a rabbit that’s in danger of being swallowed by a python…

  50. Jeremy November 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Solitary striker with any PL experience = loanee.

    Onouha, Mensah, Muntari, Welbeck, Elmo (regrettably permanent now) from last season = loanees

    That’s the point I was making Davey. Did you get it?

  51. davey November 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    That’s the point I was making Davey. Did you get it?

    Yes of course , he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t
    Last season we had our best finish for a long time – with the loanees you mentioned ; this season he recruits our own players to replace these and he is under fire becasuse they haven’t gelled as quick as you would like .
    I’m not bothered whether they are on loan , HP , owned , mortaged or whatever as long as we keep finishing higher season by season .
    Is there any difference having a loan player than a bought one who buggers off a year into his contract ????

  52. Bill Taylor November 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Other managers have the ability to hold discontented players to their contracts and return them to playing good, productive football for their club. Bruce’s reaction to the slightest niggle seems to be, “If he doesn’t want us, we don’t want him; there’s the door.” He makes it altogether too easy for bought players to bugger off.
    No, I’m not bothered either as to what a player’s deal with the club is as long as keep finishing higher season by season. But I wouldn’t put money on that happening this season. Not unless there’s a very timely leadership change.

  53. davey November 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Other managers have the ability to hold discontented players to their contracts and return them to playing good, productive football for their club.

    Yes , Mancini has dome a wonderful job with Tevez , as has Martinez with N’Zogbia

    I wish we had kept Jones , and Bent too with his great scoring record – but Gyan for me was rubbish – totally overrated

    You have to remember a lot of players came because of Bruce – and that’s players who have played for him at other clubs

  54. Birflatt Boy November 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Davey, you continue to deceive yourself. You say we can’t build a team with loanees and then point to how well we did with the batch from last year. Those loanees are long gone, with the exception of Elmo who should never have been signed.

    As for Tevez, the man spends more time falling out with clubs and managers than he does playing football. For N’Zogbia read Tevez. As usual you select the most outlying variable and include it in your normal “U” shaped distribution. Your two examples are perfect for the demolition of your own argument.

    Mr Taylor has hit the nail firmly on the head (as he so frequently does) when he says that managing the malcontents is part of the job. This is an area where Bruce is struggling. Nobody is comparing the likes of Jones, Bent, Cana or even Gyan as being of a similar temperament to the likes of Tevez and N’Zogbia other than you.

    The next time you find yourself stuck in a hole Davey, stop digging and throw the shovel away.

  55. hilary November 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Gyan might have played poorly for Sunderland, but he was fantastic when playing for his national team, in which he played with a vitality and creativity. It makes you wonder about Bruce’s ability to manage highly talented players, as well as players who might be temperamentally a bit difficult. Welbeck didn’t play very well for us either, but plays well in other contexts.

    I do think that Bruce, and Peter Reid was another manager guilty of this, is more comfortable managing journeymen than more prominent players. It could be that they are threatening in some ways. This is one of the differences between top managers and those who hover between Championship and Premiership.

  56. Bill Taylor November 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Da Silva, also excellent on his national team, hardly played for us at all. He wasn’t given a chance to prove himself before he was sold on. I’m still fearful that will happen with Ji.

  57. Jeremy November 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    I’m not saying for one moment that I am more knowledgeable than you are Davey, however it is clear from the comments both on this thread and elsewhere, that Hilary certainly is.

    The distinction between players who “bugger off a year into their contract” and a loanee is that the manager and club have some degree of expectation that the player will be there for longer than the agreed departure date for a loanee. There is no guarantee that a player will see out a contract but there is a guarantee that the loaned player will indeed “bugger off.” Therefore it’s a huge difference. Contracts mean less than they used to, of course they do, but if you think that a team can be built when half the players are loaned then you are just plain wrong.

  58. davey November 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Jeremy – I never said we should build a team from loanees – quite the opposite – I just mentioned that they finished higher than our other teams have finished for a few years
    Contracts are not worht the paper they are written on now – that’s why i am an advocate of 1 year contracts for everyone

    Bill – I liked Da Silva – but he was not physical enough for the Premiership

    Hilary Ghana are an overrated team , England should have wiped the floor with them
    As for Welbeck not playing well for us – What planet are you living on ?? And please name some top Premiership managers that have not managed one of the top 4 or 5 ??

    And BB – it was Jeremy that mentioned the loanees from last year – I just replied to his comment – again you can’t reply to my posts without getting personal – so I shall just ignore your comments in future – do you ever actually get out of the Black Cats Bar to watch a match /.???

  59. hilary November 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Davey, you might think Ghana an overrated team, but even so Gyan played great football for them. I do think Welbeck played below his potential for us. I hope my tone is more polite when replying to you than yours is when addressing me !

  60. davey November 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Hilary – I apologise if you found my tone impolite it wasn’t intended to be . I see you never answered the managers question though !

  61. hilary November 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Because I didnt understand what you were saying

  62. davey November 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Hilary said
    Because I didnt understand what you were saying

    Lol – right sorry – you mentioned Bruce would never make a top manager – I’m asking who do you think would make a top manager excepting all those who have managed the top teams say MAN U , Arsenal , Chelsea , Liverpool , Man City

  63. hilary November 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I said that I thought that managers who couldn’t deal effectively with highly talented players or those with temperament issues were not able to reach the top level. There are younger managers, such as Poyet etc who are as yet untested in this situation and who very well may be capable of managing at such a level . Just as there are established managers such as O’Neill, Moyes etc , who have been proven to be competent at managing a range of players. My preference when Bruce was appointed would have been for Martin Jol, who obviously has a strong profile, though is poorly funded at Fulham. Bruce has been given more funding than many of these managers, has been well tested over the years and found wanting.

  64. davey November 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Yes I thought you would mention the usual suspects – none of them are actually setting the world alight are they – in fact apart from O’Neill , who is not managing at the moment – they are all in positions below us

    As for spending money , Bruce’s net spend is negative

  65. hilary November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    This is my final post on this Davey. The point I am making is that Bruce has had financial backing. Moyes etc are managing on much tighter budgets. Pardew is managing on much less than we have had to spend.

    We have the opportunity to move forward in a way that many of the financially struggling teams in the Premiership have not. In order to do this we need a manager who can manage a range of players and bring out the best in them, so we can fulfill our potential.

  66. Birflatt Boy November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Nigel Adkins has done a phenomenal job at Southampton and Poyet is also emerging as a very good manager who will be in the PL soon enough. Di Matteo is also a good manager who Chelsea wasted no time in taking back to their coaching staff after he was sacked hastily at WBA.

    Hilary’s point about the likes of Moyes and Jol are well made. Jol would also have been my choice when we ended up with Cribbins.

  67. Bill Taylor November 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    I’ve been out for a while so I’m coming back to this post several comments adrift.
    Danny Welbeck did have a few decent games for Sunderland but only after Bruce finally stopped playing him out of position.
    As for Da Silva not being physical enough for the Premiership, he was certainly physical enough for Paraguay in the World Cup — not just a token team, either, but good enough to reach the quarter-finals. Da Silva featured in all five games.
    Presumably, when Bruce signed him it was with the expectation that he’d be an asset to Sunderland. But SB quickly declared him “not ready,” gave him hardly any playing time and then let him go. It doesn’t say much for his managerial judgement. If he didn’t think Da Silva was ready for the Premiership, why did he sign him in the first place? And why didn’t he give him more chance to prove himself?
    Same goes from Cristian Riveros, who scored twice in the World Cup. Yes, one of the goals was in a penalty shootout but the other was a well-taken opportunity laid on by Da Silva.

  68. Jeremy November 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Not only those two but what about Angeleri? His card was marked by Bruce almost before he set foot in the country.

    Da Silva was as good as any centre half in the World Cup but couldn’t get a look in. I think he must have shrunk 4 inches and three stones on the flight to England Bill.

  69. tim November 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    The views on this thread are clearly very entrenched with Davey simply refusing to recognise reality when it is staring him in the face. I really doubt whether he actually believes his own comments half the time. It’s just that he had held on so long that he can’t change his mind, irrespective.

  70. davey November 15, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    Tim Says
    The views on this thread are clearly very entrenched with Davey simply refusing to recognise reality when it is staring him in the face. I really doubt whether he actually believes his own comments half the time. It’s just that he had held on so long that he can’t change his mind, irrespective.

    Thanks for that Tim – I stick by my guns – Both SB and the team will come good this season – but with no thanks to the neggers – like most of the contributors here

    I really think it’s a disgrace you call yourselves Sunderland supporters – please look up the word support in the dictionary – that’s if you can get past the word negative !!

    I’m fighting a lone battle here now – as with everyone else who pledged support to Bruce – we have been mocked , pilloried , hung drawn and quartered – so now they wont post

    As it is come the end of the season you will all be eating large chunks of humble pie

  71. Birflatt Boy November 15, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    I really think it’s a disgrace you call yourselves Sunderland supporters – please look up the word support in the dictionary – that’s if you can get past the word negative !!

    It’s the easily satisfied, with low expectations of people like you Davey that hold this club back. After decade upoin decade of underinvestment and underachievement you are happy with a botttom end position and no more. I am disappointed that you resort to insuliting true fans when your argument is lost.

  72. davey November 15, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    It’s the easily satisfied, with low expectations of people like you Davey that hold this club back. After decade upoin decade of underinvestment and underachievement you are happy with a botttom end position and no more. I am disappointed that you resort to insuliting true fans when your argument is lost.

    Who has the LOW expectation – I have stated I think we will finish top 10 this season – it’s yourself and the ABV who are saying we will finish lower – so that’s your argument shot

    As for true fans – the true fans are the 3 – 5k who travel to all the away matches – getting behind the team – come what may – I don’t class folks who write pretty little ditties on here complaining , and calling for the manager’s head , as true supporters – just my opinion

  73. Bill Taylor November 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    Living in Canada, ALL of Sunderland’s games are away for me and it’s a bit hard to get to them. But, whatever Davey’s opinion, I still class myself as a true fan and I’m behind the team, come what may. But that doesn’t mean I have to be behind this manager. I can see beyond Steve Bruce to what the side could achieve if it was unshackled from his mediocre so-called leadership.
    A true fan doesn’t just go from stadium to stadium uncritically, uncomplainingly, repeating ad nauseam that the manager will eventually “come good,” even as he’s leading the side perilously close to the top 10 of the Championship.
    Davey seems to think that his expectation of a top 10 finish this season isn’t a low one. Leaving aside the fact that there’s little or no indication that we’ll rise above the position we’re currently holding, 10th is still only halfway. The Mags, meanwhile, are starting to think of a top 5 finish. Who’s being more realistic? I really hate to say this (and, as always, I hope I’m mistaken) but right now I think it’s them.

  74. Birflatt Boy November 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    The difference Davey between everyone else’s realism and yours is that our collective view is based on the evidence of what we’ve seen. Your is based on what “might” or “could” happen.

    I could win millions on a lottery ticket, or indeed I might not given the statistical improbability. You are a crystal ball gazer Davey with quite frankly nothing less than a deluded perspective of the future, given the recent past. I was drawn out to comment further on this thread despite a commitment to say no more.

    Even your most fervent “Positivos” have left you behind. Cloth headed characters such as yourself are incapable of understanding the separation and distinction between the manager and club as Mr Taylor points out above. I’ve wasted enough energy discussing these matters with you, and will respond no further to your remarks on this thread. It’s like talking to the back of the fire.

  75. davey November 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    BB – how is your realism based on evidence – when we finished 10th last season – it only proves my point – you either don’t go to any games – or you don’t get out of the Black Cats Bar if you do .
    Wake up man – this total hatred of Bruce is clouding any sort or realism – go to the game with an open mind

    I should really throw my toys out of the pram now and say i’m leaving the site – and good luck to all the neggers – I hope you get what you wish for . Unfortunately I’m not a quitter

  76. Bill Taylor November 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    This is my last comment on this thread, too, because Davey’s tenuous grasp on reality makes debate impossible. It’s apparent that he goes to games with a mind open to the point of vacancy.

  77. davey November 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Bill – it’s only because of my views that there is any debate going at all . It would fizzled out after about 15 comments as usual , with the smug self satisfied neggers regrouping for their next attack on anyone having the temerity to acually think Bruce might be worth keeping
    Ok thats my final comment on this thread too

  78. Tim November 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    He’s had everybody going on this thread, but there’s an explanation for Davey’s now isolated views.

    He IS Steve Bruce!

  79. davey November 16, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Tim said He’s had everybody going on this thread, but there’s an explanation for Davey’s now isolated views.

    He IS Steve Bruce!

    SUSSED !!!!!!!

  80. Birflatt Boy November 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Eventually Davey said something that we can agree with!

    LOL!

  81. Bill Taylor November 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    I hate to tell you this, “Davey,” but I think you’ll be fired soon…

  82. Birflatt Boy November 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    We could have a “man bites dog” situation here shortly with Steve Bruce coming on Salut to defend Davey’s record.

  83. Steve Bruce November 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I thought that it was about time that I* made an appearance on Salut. Whilst my record in transfer dealings, tactics has been poor, and the departed Darren Bent has not been adequately replaced, I remain committed to seeing out my contract. My long term goal is to ensure that Sunderland stay out of the bottom three in the Premier League. This season we are aiming for 4th bottom, and the following season if things go well and I can find a centre forward from somewhere we will aim for 5th from bottom. That’s the least that our supporters deserve.

    We are all very much looking forward to the Fulham game and think that we can send our fans home with a smile on their faces. Both Eric Black and myself think that we have a real chance of getting a draw against Martin Jol’s side.

    Thanks to Davey for all your words of nonsense, ehrm sorry I meant wisdom in support of me. Your comments provide great comfort to me as we stare another defeat in the face from the dugout. I’d be happy to buy you a pint in the Royal Arms one night if you can make it down there. Thanks.

    * [To avoid M. Salut coming back from his holiday to a lawsuit, can I add that this message is not from Steve Bruce Sunderland Manager – if anyone would like to guess this Steve Bruce’s occupation, please feel free]

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