Jake: 'to err is human .....'

Jake: ‘to err is human …..’

Some of you will have seen the various options Pete Sixsmith, having endured Sunderland vs Crystal Palace, offered for his customary seven-word verdict. Here, for the non-squeamish, is his fuller appraisal of our latest surrender …

Where to start? What about a wee skit on the excellent US High School movie 10 Things I Hate About You, which is itself a skit on Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew. Well, it beats trying to be serious and analytical about the absolute rubbish we had to sit through against Palace.

But here goes anyway:

1 The fact that we can beat our greatest rivals one week and then totally collapse the next.

Once is acceptable, twice is worrying, three times is shocking and to do it four bloody times in a row is unforgiveable.

2 The fact
that when the chips are down, our players bottle it. This afternoon both O’Shea and Vergini threw in the towel for the third time this season and produced a performance that would have been a disgrace had they been playing for Hamsteels Sausage Makers against Esh Wining Over 60s Cycling Club FC. The second and third goals were truly something to be ashamed of.

3 The fact
that we have an average crowd of over 40,000, people who go there wanting the team to do well and the club to succeed. If the crowds slumped to the level of say, Middlesbrough or Bolton Wanderers, maybe someone at the top would realise that loyalty cannot be taken for granted and that folk are utterly sick and tired of dreadful football, overpaid players and a succession of humiliating home defeats.

4 The fact that year after year we waste huge amounts of money on players who are, quite frankly, completely and utterly useless. £10m for Jack Rodwell? Do me a favour. He is now up there with the likes of Torre Andre Flo, Iain Bowyer and El Hadj Diouf as players who took the huge amounts of money thrown at them and did absolutely f*** all. Rodwell’s sole contribution to this fiasco was to commit a foul on 15 minutes which should have been a red card. Anthony Taylor would have done all of us a favour had he dispatched him toute suite to the changing rooms.

5 The fact that we believe that the corner has been turned and that two more positive results will save our season and give us another year with our snouts in the trough of the wonderful FA Premier League. Two decent performances gave us some optimism but, as the late, lamented fanzine said, “It’s The Hope I Cannot Stand.”

6 The fact
that we now have two weeks to sweat and strain and probably end up in a relegation place before the Stoke game and almost certainly after it. Even the head coach has identified a lack of physicality about the team. Mark Hughes will already be beefing up Ryan Shawcross, Jonathan Walters and Charlie Adam by feeding them on steak, steak and more steak. Our problem is too much mayo on the salads.

7 The fact that any half decent coach (and Alan Pardew) can work us out. His half time team talk must have been so simple – something along the lines of “Right lads, you’ve lulled them into a false sense of security, now go out there and hit them – and score a goal for each of the successive derby defeats they inflicted on me.” It worked.

8 The fact that whoever we sign, whoever we appoint as manager, whoever owns/runs the club, we just cannot succeed at the top level. The last eight seasons in the Premier League has brought little other than anxiety and a fair degree of misery. I sense that others are preparing to give up the fight and find other things to do on a Saturday afternoon.

9 The fact that we can swing from optimism (6pm last Sunday) to pessimism (5pm Saturday) and that it affects our whole weekend. M Salut will be drowning his sorrows in the red wines of the Var, Jake will be sloshing Rioja until it falls out of his ears, Jeremy will be walloping down the Molson’s – and I am sat at a keyboard on a Saturday night trying to work my frustration and anger out after the most inept performance of an inept season. The only players to emerge with any real credit were Wickham, who wanted the ball and showed some of the strength that we should have had at the back and van Aanholt, who at least got forward.

The two central defenders were weak beyond belief and anyone who really thought Cattermole was anything other than a holding midfield player would have been disabused of that notion today. He was awful and was booked for shirt grabbing. Pathetic.

10 The fact
that, after 50 years, I am gullible enough to be seduced by a win over a feeble Newcastle United team, to “pop into the ticket office with my bank details so we can renew your season card”. It is renewed. On this wretched, humiliating and altogether depressing showing, I should be watching 23 home games next season; can’t wait for Charlton and Cardiff to come calling.

In the film and the play, there is a happy ending. Petruchio/Patrick and Katharina/Kat do fall in love and do, presumably, live happily ever after.

But that is fiction. Football is fact.

Jake: 'please tell me how that could happen'

Jake: ‘please tell me how that could happen’

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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.

57 Responses to “Sixer’s Soapbox: a devastating assessment of Sunderland vs Crystal Palace” Subscribe

  1. AlanJ April 12, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    The usual excellence from Sixer on the all-too-familiar dross from our team.
    Perhaps another appropriate film reference is “Clueless”?

  2. Mike Sixsmith April 12, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    I was driving through the first half having had a pleasant walk in and around Felton, with Mrs S, eldest son and Sally the dog. and was at least relatively satisfied with the score at 45 minutes. To give my wife some respite, I put some music on the ipod and returned to Nick and Benno as I approached home.
    Imagine my horror, but not surprise when Nick gave the score. I could not believe that we had capitulated so quickly. I have asked brother Pete about tickets for the Arsenal game as I will be down in London that night- perhaps several more beers in Covent Garden may be more inviting!

    On another small note- RIP Richie Benaud. Mr Tyler et al could learn an awful lot from the wisdom of the finest commentator ever to grace the airwaves.

  3. Geoff Mangan April 12, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    Thanks Pete.
    I listened to the first half via the SAFC site and we seemed to be coming into it. Then, during the 5 minute drive round to our Stu’s to watch the streamed 2nd half, we were 3 down.

    There has been discussion (inc criticism) of the swathes of fans leaving and I admit to being a bit embarrassed about this. However, this wasn’t a response to the 2&3 goals from Palace, or the humiliation of the Villa game – it is more about the weekly, monthly and yearly process of seeing us turn in decent performances against top sides and Newcastle, followed by abject crapness against all other sides around us.

    If there is a ‘drinking culture’ at the club, more evidence from their performance yesterday would evidence a week of drinking and casual shaggling in celebration of the derby win.

    Pete has mentioned Rodwell (Rodbadly??) and other equally appalling displays – fouling and shirt tugging are the responses of a beaten side.
    We missed Larsson – but he needs to ask himself how he ended up with 10 yellow cards. Why didn’t Johnson start? These however, are small niggles – the problem is so much bigger than this.

  4. Geoff Mangan April 12, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    Shaggling?? Is that doing it with bells on??

  5. Marty E. April 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    To be fair Hamsteels Sausage Makers have a decent team.

  6. Eric012 April 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    As an exiled (but no less of a) supporter, I’m dependent on Benno etc for my weekly fix. I attend whenever I can get tickets. Benno was apoplectic yesterday. This must be very close to the worst top flight team we have ever had. Should we go down, then all the so called “stars”, Fletcher, Rodwell, Johnson are welcome to find pastures new, although I suspect their huge wages will prove a hindrance. They will all probably go out on loan with SAFC susidising their wages. I received a couple of “thumbs down” earlier for saying I will cancel my request for Arsenal tickets. To be honest, I’m almost done. I’ll always be a supporter but I can now find better things to waste my hard earned on. £100 wasted on that lot will get me a couple of decent meals and a nice boat trip on my annual Cyprus jollifications.

  7. smoggie April 12, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    Dont start jumping off the Monkwearmouth bridge just yet lads, have a look at the fixture list and do your sums. There’ll just be a point or two in it at the finish but I think you lot’ll be on the right end and you wont go down, not so much from what matches you win but what the other poor strugglers lose

    • Eric012 April 12, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

      Smogster, some times you talk an absolute load of drivel then, in a moment of lucidity, you come out with the above comments which almost make sense. Are the lucid moments just after you remove your mask and take your weekly draught of fresh air?

      • smoggie April 12, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

        Like I say Eric I just come on here for a bit of fun and to say what I think. I get some name calling but its water off a duck’s back and I dont think much of what I say is drivel, just not a popular opinion. That doesnt make it any less true

        • Rob April 12, 2015 at 11:09 pm #

          Nice to read your comments now Smoggie that I realise you are a Boro fan at heart. I apologise for initially assuming you were a Mags fan. Congrats to your last FA Cup win against us, it was deserved, as much as it pains me to say so. But, as I hail from the North East and yearn for it, I am living in the Midlands. Sunderland were always my team, and I always got to games, my Mum & Dad shopped in Middlesbrough back in the pre Charlton (Jack obviously days) and we got to see Boro more. I saw George Best & Bobby Charlton play against Boro, and also I saw Malcolm Macdonald score for Luton Town against Boro (I was just a kid at the time), from his own half.
          The wiser supporters told me, the Boro team at the time were good enough to go up. But it took Jack Charlton to start the best era of Boro years that I recall. I like the Boro.

  8. Ifos April 12, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Having analysed the fixtures to death, there are 2 issues with smoggie’s post. I’m struggling to see where 1 or 2 points are coming from: our record at Stoke and Everton is poor, our home record is awful and the least said about the final 2 games the better. Secondly, every other team, possible exception of hull, is capable of scoring goals. We aren’t! So we’re relying on Defoe scoring a wonder goal every game?
    Can’t see anything other than relegation!
    On the fans leaving: my daughter said that after last week she thought it was ridiculous that people would give up so quickly, and how could it possibly help the team? I told her to wait for another 20-30 years of watching the same nonsense, and then tell me what she thought.

    • smoggie April 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

      Wickham can score an all remember and one or two others. This might sound daft but you just might get the points you need from them last two matches, its the sort of thing you’ve done before. And you’ve got a week off so maybe Advocaat can put a bit of order back into the side. I dont think your past record at Stoke and Everton or anywhere has much to do with the matches coming up. Take them as they come

      • Rob April 12, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

        Thank you for the Positive Spin. You should become a Politician. *wink

  9. Sturmey, Archer and Co (Solicitors) April 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    Dear Mr Sixsmith,

    My clients (Esh Winning Over 60’s Cycling Club FC) have asked me to inform you that they are considering issuing a writ for defamation of character after your ludicrous suggestion that their own levels of defending could, in any way, be compared to the degrees of ineptitude shown yesterday by those in the red and white shirts of Sunderland AFC.

    Whilst I am currently awaiting further instructions I am honour bound to inform you that your admission of having renewed your season card indicates that you may be able to use a defence of insanity should any claim for damages be forthcoming.

    Your obedient servant

    H Shimano

    on behalf of Sturmey, Archer and Co.

    • CSB April 12, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

      Gallows humour at it’s best!!!!!!

    • Rob April 12, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

      Yes. This is the kind of thing that makes supporting Sunderland, some thing that you can cope with.
      As you wonder, why?

  10. Keith Judd April 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    Breathtakinlg awful. Not yesterdays match but the whole season. Ellis Short has, by and large, escaped the fury of the fans, but years of management at the top level without a proper football background is grinding SAFC to a standstill and probably a medium to long term decline.Premiere league or championship? My son who is 32 keeps telling me the only time he had watched entertaining football has been in the championship. That probably applies to me and I’m 65 very soon. Such is the lot of an SAFC supporter. My season card renewed for whatever the club throws at us!! Glad to see have Peter. See you at the Riverside watching 11 lads try hard and enjoy a relaxing 2 or 3 months.

    • smoggie April 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

      IF you do go down who will you be playing at Riverside? Wont be us, we’re going up. Maybe in a cup tie though but

      • Keith Judd April 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

        Smoggie.Talking Durham County Cricket Club. Hope you do go up by the way

  11. Jeremy April 12, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    Absolutely spot on. An excellent piece which sums up the problems and the associated emotions that so many of us feel.

    It was a few cans of DAB in fact Pete. I don’t routinely drink Molson’s as canal water doesn’t appeal very strongly and I needed something less tame than the local brew. The Jim Bean entered the fray late on and had more impact than Bridcutt’s appearance as a substitute.

    SAFC are a lot like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Produced little other than complete s*** for well over thirty years but you live in some faint hope that there will be a renaissance at some point. Sadly none of will live that long.

  12. Drummer April 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    We’re not in a relegation fight because there’s no fight in us .The only reason we’ll stay up is by some miracle the teams below us don’t get another three points because I don’t think we’ll get another one . We the fans know the game is up because quite honestly the team have given up . We’re a worse squad than last year and the teams below us are battlers , our lot are bottlers and I fear we’ll be stuck with most of them next season regardless what happens . Rubbish isn’t it !

    • William C April 12, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

      Spot on

      I watched Burnley yesterday, and QPR today [ on Sky ] run themselves into the ground against teams with far superior players. They and Leicester are giving themselves a chance by putting 100% every game, and sweating blood for the cause.

      Compare them to our lot? It is utterly depressing.

  13. CSB April 12, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

    Well, personally I think that the hens are going to come to roost at the end of this season. Even ES must be beginning to realise that there is a fundamental structural problem at the Club.

    If DA can’t succeed where so many others have failed (Bruce, O,Neil, Di Canio, Poyet) then you really must start to look for the answer elsewhere.

    The current squad are not and never have been good enough. The Academy is apparently not fit for purpose due to the complete lack of any players coming through to the senior squad.

    We lost the best Chairman in the FL and our current plight is a fair reflection of this. ES really needs to do some soul searching and ask himself does he really know what he is doing. We need football people in and the ship righted regardless of what division we find ourselves in next season.

    We are an embarrassment and it’s well past time for this to stop!

    • Rob April 12, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

      CSB, I think my opinion is closest to what you are saying.
      My friends, all Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd Supporters enjoy a laugh that I support Sunderland, and even go to watch them. But, I have found it increasingly more difficult to support/follow a team that has no cohesion. There has been no single manager who can take things forward. The Manager apparently does not get to choose the players. However, Poyet clearly chose Buckley & Bridcutt. And they do not seem equal to the task of anything other than squad players.
      I expected more from Rodwell, and hopefully (given the 1 season settling in period it seems to take players) he will come good. At least for a little while, as he will be off again by the time he starts to perform.
      I stand by my previous words, Steve Bruce spots good players, and he has a decent network to find them. He would have been best employed as a finder of talent, and some guy similar to Dick Advo actually training the players and motivating them.
      Look at my post at the end of the Crystal Palace predictions, I am as pessimistic as everyone else at the moment, and I have usually been optimistic.

    • JEL April 13, 2015 at 3:31 am #

      I had been thinking that the club should bring in a sports psychologist to tackle the lack of confidence and serial collapses. But not any more. What Sunderland need is an exorcist, only the black arts could be responsible for the blight affecting the club year in year out.

    • Drummer April 13, 2015 at 5:36 am #

      Ellis Short has failed in he’s tenure with this club . Yes he’s ploughed a fortune into the club but with the money’s available in return we shouldn’t be so much in debt . This is down to total missmanagement from the top . Unsuitable managers allowed to waste fortunes turned in to unsuitable directors of football scraping around for half decent Bosmans and loans . When we finally unearth a gem in Mica Richards amongst others , the child in charge was allowed to veto the move to show he knew best . Advoocat isn’t the answer either , but the damage is done , we’re down and a wonderfull opportunity has being squandered . Pathetic .

  14. Jeremy April 12, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    We don’t protest loudly enough CSB, nor do we demand enough (regardless of Doubtfire’s assertions). We take it all on the chin and come back again for more.

    I’m not for a moment suggesting that we turn out with badly spelt bed linen, but there has to be more to express dissatisfaction than having to walk out of games with 25 minutes left and then turn up again like nothing has happened.

    Short has an awful lot to answer for in this. We live in times however where the owners are omnipotent to fans views in so many ways unless it hits the balance sheet. Maybe a half empty stadium might have a visceral impact and I now feel that the only way for things to change is for people to not turn up at all. I say that because for so many years I could be relied upon to be one of the 11 or 12 thousand that we used to get so many years ago.

    • Rob April 12, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

      I’d agree with you. But, your comment is almost similar to the Mags posts against Fat guy who owns them. Ellis Short has a different lack, and it is not down to greed as is Fat what’s his name has.

      • Drummer April 13, 2015 at 5:40 am #

        Either way the results are the same . We are down this season , the mags are down next season . Rubbish , the pair of them .

  15. Martin April 13, 2015 at 5:39 am #

    You’re always spot on Pete – you are always able to articulate how I am feeling about these fools better than I can!

    Agreed – Rodwell is pants and his price tag exceeds his worth by 7000 percent, but what about 12,000,000 quid Stephen Fletcher??? He drives around in his slick motors courtesy of our generous club, yet NEVER does what he’s paid to do. And when he does get a goal once every 70,000 minutes he cups his hand towards his OWN fans as though to say – “where’s your lack of confidence now then eh”? He scored 3 against the minnows of Gibraltar, but even Harry Redknapp’s wife could have done so!! I would love to see our amazing fans cup their hands to their left ear as Fletcher was walking off the pitch after yet again not scoring! Anyway – that’s my rant. We have the best fans in then world, an amazing stadium, a billionaire owner, yet still we have to put up with sheer dross. Fletcher score 3 goals every 10 seasons, but gosh – can he hold the ball up well.

    Credit where it’s due, Wickham is starting to finally look good, but we are down. I feel it in my fingers!
    We are doomed – You’re right Pete. Nobody seems capable of building a team worthy of such phenomenal support. It’s probably not going to happen in either of our lifetimes. (especially yours!) So I will continue to cherish Mr Porterfields goal of 1973. And if by some small chance we stay in the Prem this year, I fully expect an equally frustrating season next year, with the exception of nicking 6 points from Boocastle You-shited

  16. Michael Goulding April 13, 2015 at 6:52 am #

    I keep hearing these criticisms of Short, and the call for a “football person” at the top; but I think this is unfair, unrealistic, and ignores the facts in the desperate rush to find another scapegoat.

    First of all, Short has pumped millions into the club, without which we wouldn’t even have a PL place to risk losing.

    Secondly, he has acted swiftly to get rid of failing managers who would all have seen us relegated before now. Everybody wanted rid of Bruce, O’Neil, Di Canio and Poyet, because the football was rubbish and Short halted the slide(s). Getting rid of Keane was even more prescient, pre-empting as it did a different kind of craziness than Di Canio’s. It’s more than a bit rich for the same fans to accuse him of not knowing what he was doing.

    Thirdly, he took advice from “football people” on these appointments, and look where it got him. He’d be justified in believing that he’s better off following his own judgement than following such conventional wisdom, especially when it’s his money they’re wasting.

    Fourthly, how many other successful clubs have “football people” as chairmen/owners? It’s never been a pre-requisite. What they’re supposed to do is appoint the right people to do the football stuff. Short made a big mistake in the appointment of De Fanti, and he admits that, and got rid when it became clear. I’m sure he regrets wasting £12 million on Fletcher and £5 million on Danny Graham even more than we do – and they were both bought by the supreme “football person”, Martin O’Neil.

    Yes, he presides over the club, it’s all happening “on his watch” etc, but blaming him for the players being a shower of shite is just unrealistic and out of kilter with the way football works.

    What’s happening on the pitch is not

  17. Michael Goulding April 13, 2015 at 6:57 am #

    Oops…. What’s happening on the pitch is not his fault.

    • Drummer April 13, 2015 at 9:07 am #

      Fair enough Michael but ultimately the buck stops with him . He has put a fortune in but to claim everyone wanted Bruce and O’Neill sacked simply isn’t true , a sizable majority did but a less vocal minority were willing to give them both a little longer . The fans did on the whole want Di Canio and Poyet sacked but I’d argue on the other hand that most of us didnt want them within a thousand miles of the club before they were appointed ,Di Canio especially . We just seem to be running round in circles plugging leaks in the sinking ship and now the game is up . How about yet another root and branch review in the closed season by the brains trust to work our where it all went wrong? I’d just stand them in front of a mirror !

    • CSB April 13, 2015 at 9:40 am #

      Michael, I don’t think everybody is blaming ES for current predicament, or our predicament the season before, and before that, and so on and so on.

      To me this is exactly where the problem is, the root and branch review resulted in some minor topiary and not the major tree surgery that was required. If anything ES did not go far enough, he showed that he could be quite ruthless with managers but unfortunately did not apply the same cold and calculated actions to the playing staff.

      The problems at Sunderland come from the top all the way down to the bottom, we have had too many managers who had half decent track records elsewhere but fail miserably here.

      Is DA going to join this illustrious list? Who knows, but if we do go down (and after our last performance it looks odd’s on) then I for one would not blame him, but I would blame the majority of the playing staff for masquerading as ‘professional’ and flaunting it in public (Wickham = 1000 bottles of booze, Fletcher and that bloody car).

      The stark reality is that the majority of player these days are mercenary and will jump ship as soon as it suits them for more money or due to relegation. We need the Academy to work and produce talent that are engendered to the Club, nurtured and let lose with a hunger and passion for the City and the support.

      This is what I hope that ES legacy will be, yes he’s made mistakes but even he must be able to see the major, major clear-out required in the summer of the current playing staff.

      • Mick Goulding April 13, 2015 at 11:20 am #

        I totally agree that we need a clearout of the mediocre (at best) players who have clogged up the squad for years now. But again, it’s not fair to even suggest that Short has a responsibility for that. How can Short be “ruthless” with the playing staff?

        Who wants a chairman who interferes in team selection or in telling the manager/coach whom he should be buying/selling? You don’t need to look too far up the road to see a chairman/owner who is constantly roasted by fans for running it as a business and selling the best players to balance the books etc.

        Leaving aside the Director of Football – Head Coach issue (important though it is – see below, but lets use the term “manager” for now), Short is in a no-win situation here. He’s expected to support his manager by giving him the funds to buy the players he (the manager) wants. The manager is supposed to be the football expert and should be buying according to his playing strategy.

        How is it Short’s fault if the manager then wastes £5 million on Danny Graham; and how can Short get rid of Danny Graham or prevent his purchase, without the manager storming off in the huff and claiming interference in the performance of his job? The fans would all take the manager’s side and be demanding Short keep his nose out. I’ve never before heard of football fans anywhere in the country who want an interfering chairman.

        Short has correctly delegated responsibility for the acquisition of players to someone who’s supposed to know about such stuff. Whether the current Director of Football is the right man is a different matter, but in principle it’s the right strategy for a chairman like Short. Poyet constantly undermined that set-up by making snide remarks in the media (e.g.”don’t ask me what’s happening – ask him”). If the rumours are true, Congerton also wanted to buy Mica Richards (somebody we definitely needed IMO), but Poyet refused to have him.

        Short has sacked Poyet, not Congerton, and in view of the way we were playing you can’t argue with that – although Congerton must be feeling sick at the abject failure of his plum acquisition Rodwell.

        But neither can anyone blame Short for having the financial future of the club uppermost in his mind; and in that respect the bottom line has to be continued PL status. With the big TV money coming up, he’ll do whatever is in his power to maintain that. Hence the sacking of Poyet et al. Unfortunately, his power doesn’t extend to scoring goals on a Saturday, and neither does it extend to finding anybody gullible enough to take the likes of Danny Graham off our hands.

        • CSB April 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

          Short has now resided over several managers now. All of these managers have, for want of a better phrase, been betrayed by the playing staff. This is true from Bruce to Poyet. It is essentially the same core of players and when you have a situation like this where a squad of players systematically undermines a series of Mangers selected by the chairman, I ask you who is in control of the Club?

          This has been a quite extraordinary series of events over the last several seasons and IMO should have been met with an equally extraordinary rebuttal, examples should have been made.

          How you do that in this contractual world of football is a different matter, but it was preferable to our sleep walk into the Championship and maybe worse.

  18. Pete Sixsmith April 13, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    Interesting that Wickham had a good game against Palace, a team that were interested in him last summer.
    Let the conspiracy theories off the leash!!!!!

  19. William C April 13, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    I think there are some really valid points made in the above posts, and one can only hope that the Board of Management are putting as much thought and analysis into our predicament as some of the fans are.

    After eight seasons in the PL we should, IMO, be at least a mid-table side, and not contemplating another annual relegation battle.

    The fault for our failure to develop must, ultimately lie with the management of the club, because they are the only one’s with the ability to make the critical decisions that lead to progress or the alternative.

    The fans can only give their support, which they do in massive numbers week in, week out.

    The critical decisions, most would agree, are the selection of team management and coaching staff and player recruitment, including the academy.

    It seems to me, that for various reasons, since our promotion, these decisions simply have not worked. All the managerial and coaching appointments have failed, player recruitment has been flawed and wasteful, and the academy has not been productive enough.

    I think Michael makes some very good points in regard to Mr Short. We tend to forget that he was advised by Niall Quinn at the time that Keane and Bruce were appointed, and Martin O’Neill was seen by almost everyone as the man to take the club forward.

    I think the elevation of PDC, DiFanti and GP are harder to fathom out, and this may be the point at which the plot was seriously lost?

    We have seen a steady stream of average players being moved on and replaced by inferior ones, and by players who are either over the hill, or injury prone.

    As Drummer says, the buck stops at the top. This is the case in any business, and whatever our fate at this season’s end, there surely must be a thorough review of the club’s operating policy and coaching and playing staff.

    I think we will be lucky indeed to survive this season in the PL. Miracles, like angels, are hard to find, and IMO our present group of players are not as good as those who saw us through last season’s crisis.

  20. Paul April 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    When did the present rot really set in? Possibly when Quinn departed but I do remember the last full season of Bruce’s time. Until the early part of 2011, Sunderland were comfortably placed in the top 8, followed by a run every bit as bad as the present one. The same happened during O’Neill’s first season, an initital brilliant run followed by a string of defeats. In both cases, these runs carried over into the following season and both managers were subsequently sacked. Poyet did the reverse, he ended last season in barnstorming fashion. All of this does suggest that the problems are indeed deeply rooted and there is a structural dysfunctionality within the club. I hope they stick with Congerton and that he does have the final say on recruitment which is something the previous three managers messed up. Congerton also needs to get the scouting up to scratch, just compare, for instance, Crystal Palace to Sunderland. Palace have thrusting, keen players who were recruited from the lower or non leagues, Sunderland have none. When did Sunderland last unearth an overlooked young talent? I am hard pressed to think of one after Phillips. If all of this has to be sorted out in the Championship, then so be it.

  21. Jeremy April 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    People seem to forge that Quinn appointed Sbragia as the manager.

    • Drummer April 13, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

      He also appointed himself , so as you imply the judgment may not have been that great !

    • Paul April 13, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

      True Jeremy, but comparing pre and post Quinn’s departure, the pre is a lot better. He did make mistakes but his appointment of Keane was brilliant and he did bring Short’s millions into the club. He did have a big heart, both as a player and chairman. I feel he left too early.

  22. Roddy April 13, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    I think the continual poor showings, no matter whose hand’s at the wheel, cannot be explained until we look at the handicap under which the team operates:

    1) Sunderland, the team:

    Despite a fabled history, we can no longer rely on former glories to enhance the team’s appeal. That past is almost out of living memory. And as for 1973, the mystique of that occasion was that a poor 2nd division team could knock off mighty Leeds Utd.

    Today, despite 8 consecutive premiership seasons, we still carry the yo-yo club reputation. Season after season of hanging on by your fingernails will do that.

    Fifty-some mediocre and largely forgettable years have created a complacency within the organization. It’s hard to put your finger on it exactly, but there seems to be a lethargy about the team structure from top to bottom, that you don’t find in successful organizations.

    1) Sunderland, the area:

    Despite a massive, unbelievably loyal fanbase of 40,000 plus at home games, I don’t think this means squat to the modern player. He and his agent want the fashionable clubs, and failing that, lesser clubs in or within hailing distance of the bright lights and transportation hub of London. To haul his ass up to the northeast of England, to play for a team who hasn’t a hope of winning any silverware,, is hardly high on any player’s (or perhaps more importantly, any player’s wife’s) list. So we end up paying way over value for players, basically bribing an unmotivated athlete. We all know how that turns out.

    We also bring in well-past-their-sell-date former stars, who join knowing they’re coming to Sunderland not for glory, but to extend their career so they can stay on the gravy train a few more seasons. Then we fill out the ranks with second rate journeymen and might-have-beens and hope for the best.

    Our Academy produces next to nothing of note, so only rarely does the first team benefit and rarely can we sell an in-house player for big money. A cost/benefit analysis would surely point to closing the damned thing down.

    When we do have a potential star among our ranks, he is soon unsettled and off to greener pastures. So we rely on loanout young starlets. And although they are of some temporary benefit, everyone and their grandmother knows, that’s no way to build a successful club.

    I don’t know what the solution to all this is. Every season we seem to cobble a team together for the sole purpose of, fingers crossed, we can survive one more year in the top flight. There never seems to be a long term vision, just the annual desparate scramble for survival.. As painful as it is to contemplate, perhaps a spell in the championship would be for the best: give us time to get organized, develop a long term strategy. Lesser teams than ours seem to have done it.

    • smoggie April 13, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

      Now theres somebody talking sense. Seems like going down would lose you some fans including some on here but I think they’d be wrong cause the championships not the end of the world, some good football played in the championship. Like I’ve said I hope you dont go down but if you do and you bounce straight back like the mags did then well and good. If you stop down for two or three years that might not be bad for getting the side sorted out. Time to worry if you do a Leeds and keep on sinking lol

      • Paul April 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

        Well said, I agree.

  23. Jeremy April 13, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    “True Jeremy, but comparing pre and post Quinn’s departure, the pre is a lot better. He did make mistakes but his appointment of Keane was brilliant and he did bring Short’s millions into the club.”

    No, I agree Paul. I was simply making the point that Niall was far from infallible. In a time when we seem to lurch from bad to worse, and then worse still it’s easy to look back on the past with a rosy tint.

    When all’s been said and done we haven’t had a manager who was capable of doing what’s required with available finances and whatever the existing structure was at the given time. That’s why it keeps changing.

    • Paul April 14, 2015 at 8:49 am #

      Spot – on

  24. Drummer April 13, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    I agree with most points on here , Quinny wasn’t perfect but he is a lot better than we have now and the club certainly didnt have that rotten stench of decay that it has now when he was chairman . As for a drop into the championship to straighten ourselves out , when you look at it its perfectly logical . We simply can’t compete at this level anymore and when we could we were no better than a lower mid table club . I’m as sick of losing every week as anyone else but we’re repeatedly told that premiership money is everything and the prospect of becoming a Leeds or Portsmouth terrifies me . Though in this aspect I true Short and Byrne not to let this happen .

    • Drummer April 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

      # trust Short and Bryne not to let this happen #

  25. Jeremy April 13, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    The rot is deep Drummer, but what counts is the ability to prevent the financial implosion that both Portsmouth and Leeds suffered which was largely a result of complete profligacy when they were in the top flight. The same can not be said for Short.

    Relegation may offer a chance to clear the decks and rebuild in the same manner that Keane did when he arrived. Dick Advocaat is probably not the man for that, however. He must be regretting his short tenure already, or conversely perhaps wishing he had been given longer to sort out the mess.

    • William C April 14, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      The timescale around changing the manager was crucial. Crystal Palace, WBA and Aston Villa, gave the new man enough time to effect change.

      We left it far too late. I felt he should have gone after the Southampton game.

      However, as you suggest, perhaps the best option is a new start with a young, fresh coach? [ probably in the Championship ]

      We cannot continue with the present policy.

      • Roddy April 14, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

        Yes, we certainly did leave it too late. With the good ship Sunderland clearly headed towards the rocks months ago, our dithering, ineffectual management couldn’t decide on a change of course until it was far too late to matter.

        If we do slip down to the Championship, and I think the smart money’s on that, here’s hoping Mr. Short takes a broom to the executive side of the club. That old saying ‘A fish stinks from the head’ certainly applies here. Our current players are complete crap by any standard you want to apply, be it ability, discipline or teamwork. And management must bear the ultimate responsibility for that.

  26. salutsunderland April 14, 2015 at 7:48 am #

    I long for the day when we can get this level of debate when we’re not in a crisis!

    • Paul April 14, 2015 at 8:52 am #

      That will be so boring! Nothing to harp on about which the elderly among us are so good at.

    • Terry April 14, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

      It’s the Sisyphean task that we’ve all suffered for decades.

      The difference now is that we’re no longer in sight of the top, We’re barely off the approach.

      Next step is stuck on the levels.

      Carry on rewardless, Colin. Great job.

  27. david miller April 14, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    Well I was back home over Easter, primarily to look after my 79 year old mam who has just had a full hip and knee replacement. I saw both matches. Great atmosphere for the derby, the fans won that match.

    John O’ Shea and Vergini were truly disgraceful against Palace, the rest were just inept, my mam is already moving quicker than O’Shea a week after her op.

    At the end of the season I want the entire team to have their arses kicked all the way over Wearmouth Bridge and back to Cheshire and their joyous retirement in mind-numbing mid-afternoon tv celeb “stardom.”

    Is Steve Hetzke available for the run-in?

  28. Jeremy April 15, 2015 at 2:21 am #

    “Is Steve Hetzke available for the run-in?”

    Someone is just applying a bit of sandpaper to the terminals on the jump leads. He’ll be ready in a minute David.

    What was that splutter………………..?

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