It is my job as chairman to act in the best interests of our football club at all times and I can assure everyone that this is not a decision that I have taken lightly. Sadly results this season have simply not been good enough and I feel the time is right to make a change.” – Sunderland Chairman Ellis Short

Itai??i??s been quite a week in Sunderland. From the depth of despair, as Franco Di Santo rolled in a late winner against The Black Cats, to effectively end Steve Bruceai??i??s tenure to Martin Oai??i??Neill being brought in to replace him. Bruce’s sacking came at the right time, thereai??i??s no question about that. Despite protestations from the mainstream media (many of whom havenai??i??t even watched us regularly) claiming that Bruce should be given time, if anything he was afforded too much time and he could well have been given the boot last week.

 

It was time to go...

 

It Was Only A Matter Of ‘When’

The chants at the end of the Wigan game, whilst unsavoury to say the least, were merelyAi?? a collective outpouring of ai???enough is enoughai???… heai??i??d burned all bridges between the club and the fans and when the manager is smiting fans while facing the media, itai??i??s only fair that they have a riposte. That said, itai??i??s not been all bad, but football very much is a game of ai???what have you done for me latelyai???.

Niall Quinn and Roy Keane came to the club and brought in fresh optimism and rifled Sunderlands up The Championship and into the Premier League, playing quality football with some exciting players. With a little bit of help from Ricky Sbragia, they stayed there. Steve Bruce, at the time, was the perfect appointment. He over achieved with Wigan and Birmingham and if he could drag them up to the promised land of mid-table mediocrity then fans would be happy enough. Bruce did bring them up a level, despite failure to hold on to players such as Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan, Danny Welbeck, Sulley Muntari and John Mensah; itai??i??s worth remembering he was the one who attracted them to the club in the first place.

The Black Cats needed someone at that time to take them from perennial relegation-zone dwellers to an established top half team. Unfortunately, thatai??i??s when Bruceai??i??s limitations came in and he couldnai??i??t take them up further. Not that he saw it that way. One tenth place finish, which was highly commendable, even if it did come down to other teamai??i??s failings on the final day rather than their own ability. This was held over the fans like a threat. Often pointing to the tenth place finish like they should be in awe of his incredible achievement and hiring an open top bus. His relationship was on the decline.

There was also the now infamous quotes about us fans apparently being ai???obsessedai??i?? with Newcastle United. Things couldnai??i??t be further than the truth and further proved how disconnected he was with his audience. Of course, everyone wants to get one over their local rivals, but everyone was much more concerned with their own performances (or rather the lack of them). Further outbursts came about fans allegedly having too high expectations, which were way out of order. Sunderland fan couldn’t have asked for anything more than a repeat performance. Perhaps even to win more than three home games since January 1st. Sadly the fact was it wasnai??i??t like the fans deserved to win any more games than that. The football displayed was turgid and defensive. Especially when it seemed that the team was reliant on a killer ball from Sebastian Larsson in order to ever win a game. Larssonai??i??s a great player, and rapidly becoming a fans favourite having been brought in by Bruce this summer, but to rely purely on him is sheer foolhardiness. Shotguns were loaded before the recent game with Wigan, and as pointed out earlier, when the second goal rolled in, following yet another abject performance, they were fired. As was Bruce only days later.

A New Messiah?

 

New Hope

 

Since the firing of Peter Reid, fans have clamoured for Martin Oai??i??Neill to come and save The Black Cats. A supposed fan of the club from childhood, and an inspirational and well regarded man, he seems to be the right choice to do the business for the beleaguered club. Some speculate as to why heai??i??s been out of the job for so long, some question the amount of money spent during his tenure at Aston Villa, but at the moment none of that really matter. What he has delivered is a track record of success that certainly cannot be doubted.

Success has come wherever he has landed. At Wycombe Wanderers, winning the FA Trophy and taking them to promotion. His success with Leicester City, a small club at which he delivered League Cup trophies and high finishes, is highly regarded. A repeat of that would send Sunderland fans into dream land. At Celtic he took them to UEFA Cup finals and league titles, and is still loved to this day in Glasgow; whilst at Aston Villa he finished 6thAi??for three consecutive seasons running. Something again that would land Oai??i??Neill a place in Sunderland folklore should he ever repeat it.

For the first time in well over a year, the fans are united as one. You wonai??i??t find a bad word said about Oai??i??Neill on Wearside at the moment, and given the afore mentioned clamour for his signature, it is likely to be given plenty of time to turn things around on the pitch. Back in a Birmingham Mail interview in 2007 Martin Oai??i??Neill told reporters that –

ai???Theyai??i??re (Sunderland) my old team . I supported them as a kid and Charlie Hurley was my hero. You never lose that sparkleai???

Now heai??i??s here. Heai??i??s landed the job heai??i??s always wanted, and the fans have got the manager they’ve (seemingly) always wanted. Itai??i??s about as close to a match made in heaven as you can get. That Franco Di Santo goal now seems an eternity away. Itai??i??s almost as if it never happened to be honest, as every fan is now looking to the future, and with fully justified optimism.

The futureai??i??s bright, itai??i??s red and white.

 

Written by Guest Author Simon WalshAi?? – www.rokerreport.comAi??Ai?? I Sunderlandai??i??s Finest Blog & Podcast

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One Response to “Sunderland’s Corner : Sacking Of Steve Bruce – The Inevitable Happened”

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  1. Aditya Sharma says:

    Huge respect for O’Neill from his time at Aston Villa. Those days they were consistently in the top 6 to 8 positions in the league, and were always a genuine threat to the top teams
    He’s coming in at the right time; he’ll have time to observe & tweak the current team in December, and can then look for players to fill the gap left by players like Bent, Gyan and Henderson in January