Sixer Says: the comic opera that is SAFC just now

Malcolm Dawson writes……..David Moyes might have been lured to the North East with false promises about a year ago but surely no self respecting potential candidate for the vacant manager’s office at the Stadium of Light can be under any illusions about which way the club is going. Peter Sixsmith isn’t either as he considers yet another situation which reflects badly on the club.

Pete Sixsmith: reflects on the comic opera that is SAFC


For reasons that are of no significance, I have been listening to an excellent recording of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera “The Mikado.” It’s a great combination of Gilbert’s brilliant lyrics and the sparkling music of Sullivan and it gave me much pleasure as I drove back from Leeds Rhino’s 18-14 win at Wakefield Trinity.

One of the songs is a duet between Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner and Yum-Yum, his betrothed entitled “Here’s a how-de-do,” the second verse of which starts;

“Here’s a pretty mess, In a month or less”

That just about sums up the predicament that Sunderland AFC are in at the moment as Derek McInnes turned down the manager’s job on Thursday night. Three weeks today, our pre-season opens at Gigg Lane, Bury and at the moment we are sans manager, sans players, sans ideas, sans everything, as the Bard of Avon says – although I personally think that Shakespeare (Bill not Craig) would have said it better.

I would imagine that McInnes turned it down for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there is a new majority shareholder at Aberdeen who is making some very positive noises about moving the club on. He spoke very well about McInnes and the faith and trust that he appears to have put in his current manager must have played a part in the rejection.

Secondly, he may well have realised that there is not a great deal of money to spend at Sunderland despite the parachute money and the sale of Jordan Pickford. Debts have to be paid and allowances have to be made for the impending departure of Ellis Short.

Which brings us to the third point and that is the rumours of new ownership. New owners, be they German, Chinese or the re-incarnation of Barry Batey, may well have different ideas from the current owner and Chief Executive and may well want to bring their own management team in. McInnes has a good job at Pittordrie, has his family settled there and is sufficiently well paid not to have to up sticks and move south.

All of which are perfectly laudable and acceptable reasons, but you wonder if there is anything else. Chris Sutton suggested that he would be mad to take the job and, despite the encouragement of Walter Smith, there must have been other voices from Scotland and from England telling him that this was not a club that would do much to advance his career. And you can see why. There are Aberdeen players in the Republic of Ireland system who may well have heard Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane talking in somewhat disparaging terms about the club administration.

Dick Advocaat left complaining about promises that were not kept. Sam Allardyce said not a word about the club as he clumped off to run the England team for a single, solitary match.

Security at Aberdeen or a shambles at Sunderland? I know which one I would choose.

McInnes knows which side his bread is buttered

And so we move on to the next name on Martin Bain’s list. It could be Simon Grayson or Nigel Clough or Sven Goran Erikson, who was dismissed by his Chinese club yesterday. What about Neil Warnock? How about Michael O’Neill? Kevin Phillips might be enticed back to the Stadium.

Whoever it is (and I assume we will have someone in charge before the English Football League season starts), it is not encouraging for the support. Most of us have had a low key summer, keeping our heads down while other clubs in our division appoint managers and clubs above us revel in fixtures that pit them against Liverpool rather than Leeds and Chelsea rather than Cardiff.

Our faith in the current ownership and administration is ebbing away quickly and Martin Bain has much to do if he is to win a sceptical and suspicious support over. We have given up with Ellis Short; the quicker he sells up the better now. His time at Sunderland AFC is done.

The patter song in The Mikado (most G and S operas have a patter song) is Ko-Ko singing “I’ve got a little list.” Martin Bain’s looks to be getting shorter as each day passes.

10 thoughts on “Sixer Says: the comic opera that is SAFC just now”

  1. @ salutsunderland – Exactly what I returned to talk about:

    For goodness sake why not put the SALE talks on hold for a few weeks so we can get the darned manager in? IMHO the single biggest factor in SAFC’s relegation was the faffing around last summer after “Big” Sam let the club down. OK Short wants to sell, but does it have to be right now, scuppering a vital appointment?

  2. Where is Barry Batey when you need him? Or George Reynolds? John Hall used to have a box at Roker Park. Dave Stewart, Susan Hill and Kevin Maguire must be rolling in it. I would be happy to contribute the contents of my spare change money tin.
    As Walter Gabriel used to say “Oh dear, O lord, O dear.”

  3. Since Short took over I can’t really remember anything positive coming from the puppet/muppet he has had in place since he got rid of Niall. Some of the managerial decisions and handling of people and issues, financial management, transfers etc, have been naive, shocking and embarrassing.
    Selling Pickford seems good business , but would Spurs have sold to the first bidder ?
    I just hope the sale goes through quickly, and that we have decent owners , but there are plenty of con men out there

  4. And here, just to make our blood boil a little more, is SAFC;’s statement:

    “Since the end of the season, our focus has been to appoint a new manager. Recently, however, discussions have been entered into with parties who have expressed an interest in acquiring ownership of the club.

    With this backdrop, we have been unable to give the assurances any potential candidate would need regarding the plans a new owner could have for the manager’s position. The recruitment process, whilst still very much active, cannot therefore be concluded imminently.

    In talking to parties who have shown interest in acquiring the club, owner Ellis Short is determined to make sure that the best interests of Sunderland AFC are at the heart of any decision regarding its future.

    We are of course acutely aware of the need to act swiftly to appoint a manager and to ensure that this is the case, have placed a time limit on discussions regarding a potential sale.

    If discussions are not concluded within our defined timeframe, we will terminate the process and move swiftly and positively forward with plans for the new season.

    Detailed pre-season preparations are already in place and our aim is to do everything we can to ensure Sunderland’s return to the top flight. “

  5. Today is Bloom’s day for James Joyce addicts and for the millions who have started Ulysses but never got further than a couple of chapters. Adapting a quote from the second chapter: Sunderland’s recent history is a
    nightmare we have yet to awaken from.

  6. It’s true we’ve got odd shirts to wear,
    It’s true Ellis Short’s bill is due,
    It’s true our prospects all look blue,
    But don’t let that unsettle you!
    Never you mind!
    Roll on!

    with apologies to WS Gilbert.

  7. I don’t know about comic opera more like the Rake’s Progress starring Martin Bain as Sideshow Bob. Google it.

  8. Comedy, or tragicomedy?

    “Here’s a pretty mess! In a month, or less!” is followed by “Witness my distress!” Preseason starts in a couple of weeks.

    In the words of other G&S operas, our Patience is running out. For us Sunderland fans, it is more of a Kafkaesque trial, than a Trial by Jury.

    My favourite song from The Mikado is “The Sun, Whose Rays Are All Ablaze.”

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