John McCormick writes: in this short piece Pete Sixsmith casts his eye over a couple of the more minor changes that have happened to our club in recent days. I say minor, that’s just in comparison to what else has gone on. We have lost three of the more successful, and more unassuming, people at the club.

At least, that’s Pete’s view. It’s one I happen to agree with; how about you?

I don’t think that I am a mean-spirited man. I feel sorry for anyone who loses their job, even if they are highly paid football managers. I even had a twinge of sympathy when Moyes and Allardyce, purveyors of old fashioned football, were dismissed from their posts at West Ham United and Everton respectively.

The reaction on the message boards to the news that Robbie Stockdale, Adrian Tucker and John O’Shea were leaving the club left me feeling disappointed with some of my fellow supporters. All three have worked hard at Sunderland and, in my view, do not deserve the outpourings of joy that have greeted their receipt of P45s at the Stadium of Light.

What is it that makes sports fans so unpleasant about fellow human beings? I follow the Leeds Rhinos Facebook group and some of the bile directed towards Brian McDermott, the most successful coach in the club’s long and illustrious history, is bewildering. Granted, they have not been brilliant this season, but the departure of two iconic players in Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow, plus a career ending injury to Aussie forward Keith Galloway has resulted in changes that take a time to bed in.
Judging by some of the ill-informed ranters on their forum, McDermott has…

…lost the dressing room… …has no idea… should go out and spend money on various Australians…………

……..and then resign.

You would have thought that Leeds had descended to the level of West Wales Raiders or Hemel Stags (both played 11, lost 11 with a ridiculous points difference). And some of the spelling leaves a bit to be desired.

For some reason, a number of our supporters seem to think that all the problems of last season that could not be laid at the feet of Messrs Short, Bain, Grayson and Coleman, could be passed on to Robbie Stockdale. Clearly, these gloating keyboard warriors were expert coaches and could see exactly what Stockdale was doing wrong and were banging on the doors of the Academy of Light to correct his errors. Coaches can only work with the players they have in front of them and when you have such a rag bag of a squad that we had assembled over the last two years, any coach up to and including Pep Guardiola would have struggled to keep us in the Premier League and/or the Championship.

who brought him through?

Sam Allardyce spoke well of the work that Robbie Stockdale had done with the younger players and then, under his supervision, the first team. For all his travails in East and South London and in the blue part of Merseyside, Allardyce can identify and promote a good coach. He did this with Stockdale.

Some supporters need to remember that it was Stockdale who brought players through the Under 23 system. George Honeyman, Lynden Gooch and Ethan Robson have all benefited from the work that the former Middlesbrough full back put in with them. They could well prove to be the heartbeat of our team for the next few years and hopefully, this will be Stockdale’s legacy to Sunderland AFC.

Adrian Tucker is another man with a good coaching pedigree.
You only have to look at Jordan Pickford to see that. Brought in by Dick Advocaat in his second spell, he has played a major part in the progress made by Max Stryjek and James Talbot as well as England’s new number 1.

And finally, there has been pleasure expressed at the fact that John O’Shea has decided to leave. It’s probably the right time for him to go. The club is on the verge of a new era and he represents the old one. But some of our supporters are seemingly delighted that he has gone, a sentiment that I find very difficult to understand.

A man who spent the first 12 years of his career at Old Trafford, where the manager had been there since the mid 80s, he was thrown into the turmoil that is Sunderland.

Signed by Steve Bruce in 2011, he has played under O’Neill. Di Canio, Poyet, Advocaat, Allardyce, Moyes, Grayson and Coleman plus caretakers in Kevin Ball and Stockdale – all after working for the most successful manager in modern British football history.

He was never the quickest of players and could be caught out, but in a team that fielded such impressive central defenders as Santiago Vergini, Sebastian Coates, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Papy Djilobodji, Valentin Roberge, Carlos Cuellar and Marc Wilson, he offered a degree of stability which got us through some very hairy seasons.

He stood up to the ridiculous bullying of Di Canio and was clearly a respected figure in the dressing room. His passing on of the captain’s armband to Bali Mumba showed the dignity and quality of the man.

Ken Gambles: was PDC so bad?

See also: how Ken Gambles saw the PDC row back in 2014

Some see him as part of the so-called “rotten core” that has existed at the club since goodness knows when. I see him as a good player who never failed to give of his best, even though that may not have been quite good enough. He has managerial ambitions and he now knows from his time at Sunderland that choosing the right club is imperative.

I wish all three departees every success in the future……

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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.

8 Responses to “Sixer says: goodbye John O’Shea, Robbie Stockdale and Adrian Tucker” Subscribe

  1. Jeff June 6, 2018 at 3:27 pm #

    As always, a brilliant piece BUT….. the reference to PDC annoys me.
    If he had been allowed to carry on what he was trying to do we would surely have been relegated that season but in my view, would have been back better and stronger than ever by now.
    What he did was to get the players working hard, extra training, coming in on a Sunday… getting fit!!! I always remember his reply to the question, “if you are getting the players fit why aren’t you winning matches?”. His answer “you won’t see the results of this fitness work till Christmas” and was he right???? Remember us getting to Wembley by running both Chelsea and Man Utd off the park in extra time?
    He was criticized for stopping tomato ketchup…. No ketchup at Real Madrid or Barcelona or Man City etc etc.
    He was trying to sort us out pretty much like what is happening now… getting rid of Cattermole for smashing cars up in Newcastle, getting rid of Beardsley for lying drunk covered in £50 notes.
    O’Shea helped get rid of him when he could of been our savior and should hang his head in shame, lovely guy that he is.
    I do have to qualify this emotional ramble by adding that DiFanti ( not sure about the spelling but you know who I mean) could have jeopardized everything.
    In closing, Leeds lost Clough and I have a bit of a niggle that we might have done the same thing with PDC because players didn’t want to work hard and John was part of that.
    Love this site though!!

    • Roddy June 7, 2018 at 3:15 pm #

      I believe the lingering prejudice against PDC is in part due to his openly right-wing political views.

      Had he achieved success on the pitch at Sunderland, I imagine supporters could have turned a blind eye to his political leanings. However, his increasingly woeful results combined with player rumblings was enough to scuttle a manager already despised by many fans.

  2. David Mackay June 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm #

    I wholeheartedly echo sixer’s thoughts about the departing 3 and wish them all every success.
    I hope we get good replacements in.

  3. Tuck1985 June 6, 2018 at 3:56 pm #

    Got to agree with Jeff on this PDC was doing the right things
    It wasn’t bullying just the players didn’t like discipline!
    As far as O’Shea good riddence the club has been a laughing stock for years. Just one debacle after an other and I honestly believe the players had the final say. My fingers are crossed and I’m hoping that it’s all behind us.

  4. Neil June 6, 2018 at 4:15 pm #

    Wholly agree with the sentiments herein. Not sure what the rotten core means. The fault lies with the merry-go-round of managers. If a manager has authority the players fall in line. How can a manager have authority when they only last a year? Keano may not have been everyone’s cup if tea but he sussed Short out PDQ…and scarpered. Shame really. Not a fan of PDC but even he should have had better support from above…the Board not the Lord…..then again

  5. Neil June 6, 2018 at 7:02 pm #

    To be clear I support the sentiment in the article. I come praise JoS not to bury him…he’s a decent sort & will be welcomed back as a player who was steadfast and loyal to the club. As far from a Rodwell as is possible to imagine. Then again i always liked Catts. Go figure.

    Time to move on. Cry havoc and let loose the U23s

  6. Ian Chester June 6, 2018 at 8:53 pm #

    Well said Pete. Stockdale and O’Shea are first rate solid citizens who worked as hard as they could for SAFC and showed tremendous dignity.
    Those supporting PDC above might question why this brilliant manager has never been heard of again.

  7. Mick Goulding June 6, 2018 at 9:42 pm #

    I agree about O’Shea – good player coming to the end of a good career, and a dignified leader on the pitch.

    But we can hardly be surprised at the removal of any coaches from a failed regime, when we have a new, young, hands-on coach taking over – who will have his own ideas, his own methods, and no doubt his own people to fill any gaps.

    Stockdale seems a canny bloke, but you can’t escape the simple fact that he was first-team coach during the worst season in the club’s entire history. Even if that wasn’t all his fault (of course it couldn’t all be down to him), nobody in football survives that kind of record.

    If the only good thing about successive relegations is that it has forced us to start again from scratch and completely revamp the club and create a new future, what would be the point in rewarding failure with an extended contract for someone who (at least in part) contributed to our demise?

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