This is the essential piece on Gus Poyet’s dismissal. Over to a gloomy Pete Sixsmith …
And so the deed has been done. The general consensus here in the North East is that it had to be after that performance on Saturday and that the club and the former Head Coach can now move on and achieve success with someone else.
The stories that are beginning to trickle out of the Stadium make it seem clear that Poyet would not have been here after May. There appears to be little contact between him and Lee Congerton and the owner was becoming more and more exasperated with Poyet both on and off the field.
Poyet made it clear that some players he wanted were not being brought in while some players that he didn’t want were. It has to be said that whoever was responsible for bringing in Coates, Alvarez Jones and Gomez during the summer window has a lot to answer for. We can’t blame the Italian connection for those stumers can we?
Marco Gabbiadini and Gary Bennett were on Total Sport tonight, both with slightly different viewpoints. Marco is a hunky dory man who wants things to be on an even keel and is prepared to look at both sides of the case, while Benno has made it clear all season that the football has been abysmal and that the former Head Coach is mostly to blame; “No tempo, no fight and gutless” would sum up our former skippers take on things.
Nick Barnes was sorry to see Poyet go from the journalist’s point of view if not from the footballing one. It must be difficult trying to describe the latest 0-0 draw to listeners in Ealing and the Cote D’Azur – although probably not as difficult as actually paying to watch it as a supporter.
So where to from here? The timing of the dismissal suggests that a short term fix is required and that calls for an experienced coach who can earn himself a large bonus by keeping Sunderland in the Premier League. It could be Dick Advocaat, keeping the seat warm for someone else or it could be another surprising left field choice – Gary Neville perhaps?
Should the new man succeed in keeping the club up, it will probably be met with groans from supporters of other Premier League clubs who will have to stomach watching Sunderland again next season. It would be fair to say that, in eight years, we have done absolutely nothing that has been of lasting benefit to the League, save keeping a few pub landlords in holiday money. Our football has, in the main, been dire.
I thought that Poyet was a good match for the club; he was young and ambitious, had played in Spain and England and had ideas (shame they turned out to be dud ones). He gave us a wonderful trip to Wembley and engineered that staggering run at the end of last season where we managed to win four games in a row and avoid the drop.
But the heart of that team was ripped out as Bardsley and Colback decided to look for new clubs – and found them in the Premier League – while Ki, Alonso and Borini decided to go back to their parent clubs and not stay at Sunderland. That’s five good players who did not fancy staying. Maybe they looked at Bridcutt in training and realised that this Head Coach was as imaginative as the previous ones.
Whoever comes in will have to perform a miracle even greater than last season’s as this team is far, far worse than the one of a year ago. On the evidence of the last few games, I would say that this team is even poorer than poor old Mick McCarthy’s triers in 2005. I have little cause for optimism that the drop can be avoided.
Here is a club that can attract 45,000 for a game at the bottom of the league, which has thousands of loyal and dedicated fans who have been short changed by managers, coaches, players and owners for far too long. Those empty seats will take some filling if the Championship is where we are next season. Mine will be one of the empty ones.