Sixer’s Soapbox: Moyes resigns, he won’t be missed

John McCormick writes: end of season reviews have just begin, with Lars Knutsen providing the first with a piece entitled “Hire and fire”.  Some time in the next couple of weeks, depending on how many reviews there are, Pete Sixsmith will bring the season to a close.

But M Salut called on Pete to perform a duty first, and Pete stepped up to the mark in fine style. Here’s his take on the hiring, but perhaps not the firing, of a manager who promised so much and delivered nothing but dust:

it used to be a rare event

When I started going to Roker Park in the early 1960s Sunderland were on their eighth full time manager in 68 years. We have now gone through a similar number in our 10-year sojourn in the Premier League. Times certainly change – and not always for the better.

Moyes leaving came as no shock to me or to many other Sunderland fans. He had made a real mess of the job and, despite the limitations placed on him, he should have done much, much better than he did. A collection of awful performances, awful signings and a truly awful demeanour meant that he was not the man to take the club forward. He will not be mourned.

From the second game of the season, he alienated the support with his ill-advised observations on what he saw as a relegation battle. It may well have been correct (the word fight or battle somewhat disguises the limp way that we went down) but to bring it up after an unfortunate defeat was not the wisest thing that he did. Maybe he should have realised that there was nothing he could do and gone then – and maybe Theresa May would stick to her manifesto.

Jake remembers

It was one of the most inauspicious reigns of any Sunderland manager – although he does have some close rivals. Terry Butcher was terminally hopeless, Paolo Di Canio was mad and Lawrie McMenemy was truly awful and draws a close parallel with the Moyes period. But this was a bitter disappointment as he came with a decent pedigree and with a desire to do well. The support raucously welcomed him at the pre-season friendly at Rotherham but by the time the season ended at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, they couldn’t wait for him to leave.

losing young players didn’t help

How much of it was his fault? Not all of it. He had little time to put a squad together after Allardyce left for the England job. When he started to think about who needed to be brought in, he realised that there was little money available. He had players who were psychologically shot after four consecutive relegation scares. The squad he inherited was short on goal scorers. He lost two good young players in McNair and Watmore early on in the season. He had to work with a club that was verging on the dysfunctional after the Johnson case, the indefensible conduct of an inexperienced chief executive in Margaret Byrne and an owner who, despite his apparent enthusiasm, was, to put it mildly, hopeless. A mixture of Antonio Conte, Bill Shankly and Bob Kyle (look him up in Rob Mason’s Complete Record) would have struggled to get us to tenth and put us on a par with the position that Steve Bruce had us in seven years ago.

Jake’s take on Moyes

So, let’s cut him a bit of slack. It was a difficult job. It wasn’t what he had been used to at Everton or Manchester United. Maybe he didn’t realise how deep seated the problems were at Sunderland. Maybe he had a headache.

Whatever it was, nothing really excuses the absolute mess he made of the job, his career and the hopes of the thousands who support Sunderland. If there were a fight between him and Lawrie McMenemy for the title of Most Overrated and Most Awful Manager in Sunderland AFC’s History, it would be a very tight points decision. McMenemy would just get it because Moyes had the common sense to walk before he dragged us down even further.

Why then did it all go wrong for the one time Chosen One? How long have you got? In no particular order;

went backwards, then south

Instead of building on what Allardyce had left behind, he decided to do it his way. Players who had improved under the previous regime went backwards – I’m thinking van Aanholt. The system was changed and I can’t for the life of me think what system Moyes introduced because there wasn’t one. Players who came in were not good enough. Love and McNair might turn out to be assets (although the former has been a disappointment all season) but Djilobodji was an absolute disaster. Had he been scouted? Did Moyes speak to anyone who had seen him play? If he was the man to replace Kaboul and/or Kone (another situation that Moyes inherited) then surely it had to be someone who had the mentality to play in the toughest league in Europe.

He failed to sign another forward and went into the start of the season with Borini and Defoe and no body with any physical presence. The first man that Allardyce had signed was Dame N’Doye to give us some strength up front. It gave us some breathing space. He did a job. Moyes waited until September to bring in Anichebe – and then played him wide as a replacement for Watmore.

Basic errors kept being made. Poor marking; giving corners and free kicks away; weak tackling. It never got any better. Did he work with individuals as Allardyce had with van Aanholt and Yedlin? Did the players fully understand what they had to do? After 10 games we had no wins. Poor teams don’t come back from that and we didn’t.

fans in the dark at the SOL

He alienated the support with his downbeat approach. He may well have been honest after the home defeat to Middlesbrough but he should have kept it to himself. The whole season went downhill from there and his demeanour did not go down well. But worse, the tactics, the commitment and the appallingly low level of play meant that he was doomed. There were rumblings of discontent by the end of September and those rumbles were of Krakatoa proportions by the end of January.

There has not been one good game at Sunderland all season. The three home wins were against a Hull side who were even worse than us, a Leicester team labouring under an ageing Italian and a Watford outfit who saw diving and fouling as an important part of the beautiful game. Poor sides beat us, decent sides won comfortably and the better sides seemed to bring something out of us. But managers live or die by the results against teams who are at the level their team is at and losing at home to Stoke, Palace, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough means relegation.

He may end up as Scotland manager when Strachan goes after the latest World Cup fiasco, but his time on Wearside will not be fondly remembered. As to who comes next is anyone’s guess. Whoever it is has a real job on his hands; there are no Roy Keanes out there waiting to take the Championship by storm.

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15 thoughts on “Sixer’s Soapbox: Moyes resigns, he won’t be missed”

  1. Trumpy is having a hard time running the good ol’ US of A…and that job is a piece of piss compared to running good ol’ SAFC.

  2. It doesn’t matter who the new manager is. He’ll have very limited funds and is 100% certain to fail. The Sunderland manager’s job is the poisoned chalice to beat all poisoned chalices.

  3. All I hope for is we don’t get Mclaren,but seeing the way things have gone lately it’s a nailed on ceratinty.

  4. Unfortunately supporters have no control on who is on the board at SAFC. The club is owned by one man who appoints people to run it for him. Most of those appointments (and I’m not talking about coaches or managers here) have been disastrous and have increasingly tied the managers’ (plural) hands since Steve Bruce went.

    Terrible recruitment policy, poorly negotiated contracts (especially with regard to loan players – think Vergini, Coates, Alvarez and equally poor permanent signings who then go out on loan with the club meeting a big percentage of their wages, think Matthews, Bridcutt, Coates again and Lens) and off the field disasters such as the Adam Johnson/Cabral situations and a massive payoff to someone who took the brunt of the blame for that (yes she was culpable but was no-one else really aware of the situation?) are not down to David Moyes.

    His demeanour and tactics were poor. I’m not defending him in that respect but since Bruce was sacked only Allardyce gave us a glimmer of hope that the club could progress. I suspect that even if the England job hadn’t come along he would have walked by Christmas as it was clear that his hands were tied and his vision for the club was being hampered. No new players and no movement on M’Vila before the pre-season training camp were ominous signs.

    I can’t believe that there are many supporters out there who think all will be hunky dory now and that another new manager is all that is needed to bring success.

    • Agreed. While I do feel a sense of relief that Moyes is gone, that old saying ‘the fish stinks from the head’ keeps running through my mind.

      Short could write a book on ‘How To Bring a Franchise to its Knees’. Not saying it’s all his fault (there’s plenty of blame to go around) but as the head of the organization, the buck stops with him. I realize he knows less than nothing about football, but whoever advises him on all matters footy, needs horse whipping.

  5. Have to say I am quite angry that he has resigned. Don’t get me wrong, I agree he has been terrible and possibly one of the worst in my memory, but I am angry that this club has backed a complete loser and let this fiasco go right to the end of the season after telling the fans he will be the manager next year.
    I cannot believe how bad this club can get. Giving the wrong man complete backing until it is too late and then just watch him walk away, it makes my blood boil.
    I think there should be a vote of no confidence in the entire board. Get rid of them all.
    I feel like any hope of surviving was ripped away from us when Moyes was given the guarantee for next season, then he decides it is not the job for him??????
    What the hell is going on here.
    I do not have any faith in anyone at the club who appears to make decisions from board execs to scouts to managers.
    Not forgetting most of the wretched players we have, with the obvious couple of exceptions there has been no accountability at the club for years.
    Time to wipe the board clean (hopefully???) and start again.

    • David – there is an uncanny similarity with Cameron’s behaviour after his hopeless attempts to reform the EU?

  6. I was at the Rotherham pre season game , it was my personal highlight under Moyes .He was an unmitigated disaster that has taken an already fragile club to the verge of destruction.I just hope we can consolidate next season and make a fight of it . At least with McDoom now gone it can’t get any worse , can it ?

  7. What i still want to know is whether he went because he recognised he’d been useless or because he was told ‘there’s no money to get back to the Premier – whatever we get from Pickford’s sale will help pay off Ellis’s debt’

  8. He took the joy out of football. Letting Lens go without replacing him, not playing Khazri, them letting PVA go. The players he brought in were dross.
    The players who were “injured” on Sunday and the Terry fiasco just sums up what a complete mess we are.
    Please don’t appoint Giggs

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