Welcome Dick Advocaat: now for a man-to-man, man-by-man talk

Dick Advocaat and Monsieur Salut are of a similar vintage, though he (DA) is fractionally older.

Even the pedigree bears superficial comparison:

* title-winning manager with top club and international experience, “currently unemployed” yesterday, managing Sunderland today in Dick’s case

* former chief reporter, executive news editor and Paris bureau chief of top broadsheet, “currently exploring other opportunities” yesterday, running Salut! Sunderland (yesterday and today) in M Salut’s case

But that tells only part of the story for at least one of them. We can safely assume Dick’s done OK.
And since we have a little in common, let’s see if we can get along …

First of all, welcome Dick. You’ve taken on a mighty challenge – keeping Sunderland in the Premier when they’ve been doing their damnedest to leave it – and have so little time to achieve it. On the plus side, recent seasons show it can be done, and from even more hopeless situations that the one you inherit.

SAFC.com lists eight of the remaining nine games, omitting Arsenal away on April 18 (maybe Poyet just faxed the points down to the Emirates to save trouble and expense?). This is the full list …

March: Sat 21 17:30 A West Ham Unite
April: Sun 05 16:00 H Newcastle United
Sat 11 15:00 H Crystal Palace
Sat 18 15:00 A Arsenal
Sat 25 15:00 A Stoke City

May: Sat 02 15:00 H Southampton
Sat 09 15:00 A Everton
Sat 16 15:00 H Leicester City
Sun 24 15:00 A Chelsea

Now for your new employees, Dick:

Pantilimon: decent shop-stopper, so tall he can claim crosses without jumping, woeful distribution, occasional misunderstandings with defenders

Jones: not often seen, not impressive when seen

Reveillere: vast experience at a high level (henceforth VAHL), cultured touches, sometimes left for dead, not the man you want jumping with Benteke for a deep cross

Van Aanolt: good going forward, utterly hopeless defending (our) left flank

Vergini: a hunk for female fans, evidently; his play can also be pretty, but is often dangerous

Brown (VAHL): solid as a rock on his day, but those days are less frequent now. Culpable vs Villa

O’Shea: (VAHL): excellent all season, all over the place vs Villa. Like Vergini and Brown, leads a charmed life with penalty area wrestling

Coates: not an answer to our defensive frailties

Larsson VAHL: player of a wretched season, but his industry is not always matched by achievement. Build the revival around him

AJ: er, absent just now

Cattermole: prone to gaffes, petulance and injury but we generally play better when he’s unhurt and unsuspended

Bridcutt: just not up to Premier football

Rodwell: can you be the one to make him finally deliver?

Buckley see Bridcutt

Alvarez nice touches, far too wayward and inconsistent

Gomez has good moments rather than good days. Worth persevering

Wickham needs to be invited to start earning his big new salary, perhap s by scoring as he did at the end of last season

Fletcher tried as hard as anyone, out of position, on Saturday (making him a 3 or 4 out of 10 as opposed to 2, 1 or zero). But his day job is scoring and he no longer does it. Not a kick-up-the-backside remedy, though, as he injures a little too easily

Graham: cannot score but puts in a shift. Poyet praised him to the hilt last week, then left him on the bench. You may find a better way

Defoe (VAHL):needs to be as sharp as we thought he’d be – in other words a great sharper than now – but also needs all preceding players to remember his lack of height. Play to his strengths instead of mistaking him for Niall Quinn

That’s about it, Dick. Or have I missed someone?

Your job is to make each of them prove me wrong if I’ve been over-critical. But have a look at the Under 21s, too. You may find more heart, more creativity, more threat there.

And good luck. You’ll need it but you’ll also start with the 100 per cent backing of the fans – and you’ll see just how special those fans are on Saturday.

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

4 thoughts on “Welcome Dick Advocaat: now for a man-to-man, man-by-man talk”

  1. It would be good if Dick can tell us how the system involving Director of Footbal is supposed to work ,why it works on the continent but not in the UK . 500 words wood be good

  2. When I tried to comment on Advocaat on the Sunderland Echo website, and it prevented me from calling him “Dick.”

    Johnson Press’s software needs to be updated now that Advocaat (who really IS Dick), is the manager, as opposed to Poyet on the other hand……………………………..

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