Malcolm Dawson writes…. I am currently on one of my regular commitments at an hotel in Lancashire, organising and directing Bridge for a large group of mostly retired people for whom it is a pleasant and sociable way of spending a few days away from home, especially for those who are mostly on their own or less mobile, as well as the groups who come together for a bit of libation, in between the Bridge and the sandblasting you get walking along the prom when the tide is out.
As this afternoon’s session finished at 4.30 I switched on my laptop to be greeted with the news that Jack Ross has left the club. This is certainly what a lot of people who follow the fortunes of the club have been asking for and it will come as no surprise to Pete Sixsmith who hinted as much in his Soapbox on Sunday, following a miserable afternoon spent at Sincil Bank. Personally I am not sure that a simple change of manager will bring about an immediate change in fortunes and time will tell if those who have been calling for his head will turn out to be proved right. What I do believe however is that constant criticism affects us all and football managers, owners and players are people first and foremost. Social media provides a platform for people to voice their opinions, which in itself is not necessarily a bad thing but it also provides a degree of anonymity and distances those who make hurtful and spiteful comments from those who it is aimed at. This is further emphasised by a proliferation of websites which like to stress those negative tweets and postings with eye-catching headlines using provocative phrases like “fans blast” or “fans destroy” etc.
Whether or not social media has affected Jack Ross’s state of mind, whether or not it persuaded Stewart Donald it was time for Ross to go or not I can’t say. I haven’t even read the official statement, nor any of the feeds from other sites but the constant sniping and dissatisfaction, must have got to him. Add to that the willingness of some to just accept the truth of other’s comments without scrutiny and it doesn’t take much to get a bandwagon rolling. Look at how Sam Allardyce became the favourite for the England job when he wasn’t even in the F.A.’s thoughts originally.
I am sad that Ross has gone and sad that he probably had to go. I hope that a change of manager will bring about an improvement in performances and results. The next few weeks will be interesting. How long will the new manager get before the criticisms start, if we are still not winning games convincingly?
I have to say that I have been disappointed with the way the team has approached games recently. I feel we have been too negative and that we haven’t always started with the best team, although I haven’t been in position to judge the fitness of the squad nor their state of mind pre kick off, but I haven’t always thought Ross used the available players effectively.
Add to that the rumours that the takeover might have hit the rocks, though Stewart Donald has promised to clarify things shortly and the brief comments from him I’ve seen so far suggest these are just rumours. I also wonder if he has a replacement in mind who can be appointed in the next few days. With the Fleetwood game postponed it would at least give an incumbent a bit of time to get to know the squad.
But if I’ve learned one thing from following Sunderland for coming up to 60 years, it’s not to get too optimistic about things as therein lies guaranteed disappointment. Here’s hoping that this is the start of yet another chapter in the club’s history and that it’s a positive one.
Now I’m off for my tea and I’ll have to follow tonight’s game via the club’s website and the BBC when I get the chance.
Ha’way the Lads.