From Hartlepool to England. Bye bye Sam, hello David?

Sixer at Hartlepool
Sixer at Hartlepool

It threatens to be a sad day. The FA is expected to be appoint Big Sam to the England job and will not be apologising to Sunderland for the disruption its wretched foot-slogging has caused to our pre-season plans. Then the stage is set, or so we have been led to believe for David Moyes’s arrival as our new boss. Let Pete Sixsmith take up the story from what is likely to have been Allardyce’s last match in charge of SAFC, last night’s friendly at Hartlepool …

Fifty one weeks ago, the Sunderland first team were losing at Doncaster Rovers, having turned in a performance which left many in the crowd worried for the coming season.

That night, they looked unfit, lacking cohesion and an absolute shambles from front to back as they lost to a side that ended up being relegated to the bottom tier.

Fast forward almost a year and here we had a Sunderland side which was fit, slick and full of imagination and running as they dispatched their A19 neighbours with three excellent goals, including an absolute gem from Jermain Defoe.

The new manager (and I am assuming that Sam Allardyce will accept the ultimate poisoned chalice from the dunderheads who “run” the FA) will find a team that has a great spirit about it and can play a fair bit of football.

He will find some very promising players who are beginning to move through the ranks and are starting to look like Premier League footballers.

And, he will find a fan base that has no illusions about the challenges ahead and who crave a season of stability and peace with no dramatic end of season escapes and perhaps a possible cup run to sweeten life. The prospect of mid table mediocrity is something that excites me.

For 45 minutes the players that the new man has to work with looked comfortable in possession and, far more importantly, looked fit and up for it. Twelve months ago, they looked nothing like ready for the rigours of a Premier League season and the subsequent defeats to Leicester, Norwich City and Bournemouth showed that Dick Advocaat was right to walk away and hand the chance to Sam Allardyce.

Hartlepool were run into the ground by the probings of Khazri and Cattermole, the pace of Borini and the sheer quality of Defoe. The latter took two goals, the first coming when he easily shrugged off Pools central defender Nsiala and slotted the ball past Trevor Carson.

The second came when Khazri, as busy as ever, fed Defoe and, when his shot came back from the post, the Tunisian calmly finished.

Finally, Defoe got another with a wonderful chip after Borini, sporting a blonde thatch a la Boris Johnson, set him up after a good run.

Further chances were missed by Rodwell (I seem to have written that a few times) and Kone before the first team trooped off and the Under 21s plus Charles N’Zogbia trooped on.

The second half was far more even as the home team also made a number of changes, which included bringing on Billy Paynter to play up front. He’s a grizzled old pro, big, strong and fearsome looking – exactly the kind of player that Michael Ledger and Thomas Beadling (our second half central defenders) need to play against. Paynter gave Beadling a real test and the young centre half handled him well.

Watmore should have made it four and it was nice to see Lyndon Gooch return to meaningful action. All three Robson’s did well as did Rees Greenwood, although N’Zogbia did little to suggest that whoever is manager will give him a contract.

Hartlepool sees the last of Big Sam as SAFC manager
Hartlepool sees the last of Big Sam as SAFC manager

We had three regulars missing in Jan Kirchhoff, John O’Shea and Seb Larsson and there was no Yedlin or M’Vila. I gather the Frenchman is back in France and is not expected back at Kazan. He has six months left on his contract but Ruben are not inclined to let him go on the cheap. We shall see…..

And so, another Sunderland manager leaves although not for the usual reasons.

Not since Jimmy Adamson left us for Leeds United in 1978 have we seen a boss depart for a bigger job, so this makes a change from sackings, mutual consents and throwing the towel in. There will be more, much more on the Allardyce months in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, maybe we could all club together and buy him and his wife a nice hamper.

17 thoughts on “From Hartlepool to England. Bye bye Sam, hello David?”

  1. Worrying news – Steve Bruce quits at the same time as Allardyce officially becomes England boss.

  2. Of more interest to me, rather than Sam slinging his hook, is the immediate future of Robbie Stockdale and, to a lesser extent, Paul Bracewell. Nearly all of the kids representing Sunderland in the second half of last night’s game at Hartlepool, ave been nurtured and schooled by Robbie and Paul. I would suggest that keeping Robbie and Le Brace is more important than keeping Sam. Thoughts?

    • I don’t know about being more important than Sam’s departure, but I do feel sorry for the backroom staff, given each new manager tends to bring in his own new crew. They’re not heading off to their dream job but could find themselves out of the door.

    • Agreed and working under Sam the whole squad looks fitter and better drilled. They could provide the continuity that’ll be needed in a few weeks time.

  3. I would be very surprised if any of those “senior” players who turned out at Darlington on Tuesday night have any future at the club.

  4. I am so disappointed Sam has gone.

    But we move on…..

    I just hope Moyes and Sam have a proper handover and consult on what we have that is proven, is good and is promising.

    I hate the FA.

  5. I liked Moyes at Everton,they had a good strong team,he should never have gone to man utd,in my opinion Ferguson left them in a mess,Moyes had no chance there from the start.Im not too happy about Sam leaving,but I wish him well,best football I have seen in a while,but he’s gone and i’m glad we are getting Moyes because the rest of them that was mentioned are not what we need right now. We need a strong man at the helm,someone to finish off what Sam started and I think Moyes is that man!

  6. Agree with Malcolm – let’s get Allardyce’s replacement in super-quickly – and also with Robbo. The new guy needs to get busy instantly on signings, starting with those three. If it’s David Moyes, I hope he’s been whiling away the last couple of weeks pondering who he’d add to the squad if he took it over.
    I hope it is Moyes – not only is he the best man for the job but I have some ideas for what to call his post-game comments on SalutSunderland:
    Moyes’s Off
    A Cellarful of Moyes
    or (a bit TOO clever, this one) My Dove Said (which is an anagram of David Moyes)

  7. Let’s get the new manager in by Monday at the latest.

    Assuming last night’s starting XI with Kirchhoff in instead of Rodwell, the bench v Man City would be something like Pickford, Robson, O’Shea, Larsson, Rodwell, Watmore, Gooch.

    We are looking very thin in terms of a Premiership squad. Then again the new man might want to revive the careers of Gomez, Bridcutt, Buckley, Mavrias and Matthews by taking them to France and integrating them back into the 1st team squad. If we don’t make any signings soon he might have to.

    • Just hoping that there are at least three deals waiting to be quickly rubber stamped when the new manager arrives….Yedlin, M’Vila and Sahko hopefully.

      • It would be a start and if Lens is committed and Rodwell can stay free from injury it might be like having 5 new players. Two more on top + the kids and it will look a lot rosier.

        M’Vila, Yedlin and Sakho if they come, might lack a bit of fitness at first, which is why we need to get moving.

  8. Farewell Sam, and thanks for last season’s survival.

    If his replacement proves to be David Moyes, I will be happy. He has shown that he can be a manager for the long term, and I think he would thrive at Sunderland. We have the basis for a decent team, and I think he [ DM ] would get the best from these players, as did Sam.

  9. Two sides to the tale: grateful to him but also disappointed in him. As you write, he will accept the poisoned chalice and pass on what could have been even better than his Bolton days.

    Moyes? He has been a more successful PL manager than Sam and Moyes will also inherit a team with a strong spine and that is thanks to Allardyce, it’s not the usual doom and gloom. On the contrary.

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