Monsieur Salut looks back on a momentous week for all who care about Sunderland AFC …
As I began to write this review of the week, we were a day into the post-Bruce era of Sunderland AFC, three days from an important game at Molineux.
By the time I finished the first draft (these are after thoughts), we were just waiting for official word that Martin ONeill had Been appointed in Steve Bruce’s place. And MoN knows perfectly well what the Sunderland faithful will be hoping he can pull off.
And what a week it has been.
The late surrender to Wigan and the revolt in the stands against Bruce made his position irretrievable. He had lost the support in sufficient numbers to make it seem unlikely, perhaps even to him, that it could be won back. Salut! Sunderland, having given the manager the run of games to the end of November to make his case for survival, ended its own fence-sitting once the final whistle blew at the Stadium of Light.
This, then, is how the crisis developed from that point, as described on these pages. Click on the highlighted heading to read more:
* Saturday 5pm: In Sixer’s Sevens, Pete Sixsmith’s own seven-word verdicts – he offered five and said “print them all” – are introduced with M Salut’s strident headline: New Manager Please
* Later the same evening: Steve Bruce, in what turns out to be his final Bruce’s Banter, is defiant: “It’s in my nature never to chuck anything so we’ll be ready to go again on Monday morning.”
* Sunday 11am: Pete Sixsmith ponders the implications of the defeat, and the treatment dished out to Bruce, in his gloomy appraisal of Saturday’s events. Pete thinks he may get two more games; he knows the boss is in for “an awful week”. Click Wigan Soapbox: the final countdown if you missed it.
* Sunday 1pm: Jeremy Robson, who has been clamouring as loudly as anyone for dismissal, says Bruce is “a country mile short of what’s needed”. Read it here.
* Monday afternoon: Pete Sixsmith’s brother Phil is visiting from Greece so knows a crisis when he sees one. Read a second Sixsmith account of the Wigan match here.
* Tuesday morning: Colin Randall – aka M Salut – describes the process by which he reached his own conclusion on the appropriate fate of Steve Bruce. The headline – “Why change shouldn’t wait for Wolves and Blackburn” – is self-explanatory.
* Tuesday evening: Birflatt Boy expresses dismay that Bruce has not already been seen off the premises and urges Ellis Short to end the agony. Click here for the full article.
* Wednesday evening: delayed only by M Salut’s guilty pelasure – Come Dine With Me – the official Sunderland AFC announcement drops. Bruce has gone.
* Thursday morning: Pete Sixsmith reflects on the sacking and looks at the options for a replacement. Click on “What Happens Now?”
Friday morning: amid irresistible speculation about the imminence of Martin O’Neill’s appointment, Pete Sixsmith offered his approval in a heart-before-head assessment. See it here.
There you have it, though not quite all of it. Go over any of those pieces afresh or for the first time and you will see a postbag of comments unmatched since this site was created five years ago. It is a shame that it takes calamity to draw in so many reader’s comments, but thanks hugely for the contributions.
Beyond Bruce, there were two Wolves “Who are You?” features – Oliver and Nathan Graves (aged 16 and 17) here, and Steve Bishop (35 years without missing a match) here – and a moving tribute to Gary Speed from Jeremy Robson. Pete Sixsmith watched the Under 18s beaten by Nottingham Forest in the FA Youth Cup; no one (ie from the public) was allowed to watch the Reserves wallop Scunthorpe 7-0 behind closed doors at the Academy of Light.
And Salut! Sunderland‘s loyal and often very patient readership was asked to tolerate any further technical hitches on the way to the new-look site.
I can say the work in progress is hugely encouraging and hope the redesign will be complete, subject to further improvements, very soon. For anyone who comes this way only once a week or once in a while, perhaps relying on these digests, Salut! Sunderland will never be the same again.
And Ha’way the Bruceless Lads at Molineux tomorrow afternoon.