One of Monsieur Salut’s regrets is that although certain readers have taken a strongly pro-Bruce – or anti-kneejerk – line none has recently accepted the open invitation to put such thoughts into a full-sized posting. Yet there’s no shortage of hostile comment, as the latest Birflatt Boy offering demonstrates …
Let’s not beat about the bush on this issue.
The overwhelming majority of Sunderland fans not only want him gone after the debacle of losing at home to Wigan. Not only do the fans want him gone, they expected him to be gone already.
Mick Horswill, on the Legends radio programme said he’d never previously heard a Sunderland crowd chant for the manager’s head during a game.
The scenes at the end of the Wigan game were unprecedented, and a clear sign of the growing disillusionment and frustration with the current management.
How could it be any other way after two victories at home since the first foot came over the threshold with a lump of coal and some Christmas cake?
The silence from the club is so far deafening. Few would have expected the bumbling incumbent to have remained in post.
By refusing to remove him, there is a real danger that the club will see the protests directed towards the chairman and owner.
Ellis Short may think that points gained against Wolves and/or Blackburn would quell the protests and signal that better times are ahead.
In doing so he may paint himself into a corner, where his own credibility is lost.
Games against Wolves and Blackburn (as indeed against Wigan and Fulham) provide a real opportunity to put points on the board for any club in this division.
Nothing is proven by victory in either or both of these games, whereas a great deal will be learned from failure to win either of both of them.
Unfortunately, Mr Short is creating a situation which may be self defeating. If this is Steve Bruce’s last chance, then what happens if we win both games? The likelihood is that Short will allow Bruce will keep his job. The more important question is will the fans? A marginal win say 1-0 or 2-1 at Molyneux isn’t going to assuage the critics and those that began the anti-Bruce chants.
These protests were a long time coming, and the drink that is brewed the longest is always the strongest. Now they have started they will not stop. They will grow in both volume and intensity until they are heard, and they get what they want. Anti-Bruce feeling has reached boiling point, and against all the odds he remains in his job. The anger will not dissipate but it may refocus; this time on the chairman and owner.
Imagine that we win at Wolves and again against Blackburn, but then suffer heavy defeats on the road at Spurs and QPR? Having failed to remove the manager after losing at home to the bottom club in the league, he can hardly then dispense with Bruce’s services for losing at Spurs or QPR. That really would be a nonsense.
It would also be the midpoint of the season with fixtures coming up against Everton and Man City. By prolonging the agony to potentially another two games, any incoming manager will have been denied the chance to fully assess the playing squad before the January window opens.
Some of our fans were arguing several weeks ago that it was too early to dispense with the manager. However those few short weeks have taken us to the point where very shortly it will have become too late. In doing so Ellis Short, who seems to be a very reclusive figure may well have lost he credibility of the fans who have placed so much faith in him. For others who expected him to take a firmer line than the genial former chairman Niall Quinn he will appear to have feet of clay.
These are troubled times at Sunderland, and who really knows what’s in the mind of Ellis Short. We can of course only speculate, wait and see (and of course protest most vigorously now that we’ve started).