Sunderland v Reading: are we now officially in a Sack Race? Guess the Score

Buy Two, Win Two, says Jake

There is plenty of speculation, as might be expected, about the futures of two managers resting in part on the outcome of tomorrow’s game at the Stadium of Light.



Salut! Sunderland
has no inside track on the corporate goings-on at either club. But no manager has a level of job security that ignores the judgement-on-results applied by club owners and boards. Another defeat for either Martin O’Neill or Brian McDermott would, at the very least, be unlikely to improve the prospects of continued employment.

Based on my own approach to Steve Bruce’s wretched start to last season, I should by now be reluctantly admitting that O’Neill should go if he cannot drive on his team to a winning performance against Reading.

Only the brightest optimist among Sunderland supporters expects better than the routine defeat in the next one, at Old Trafford (though we have managed a couple of draws there in the last few seasons). The four games after that – Southampton away, Man City and Spurs at home and Liverpool away – will not produce more than two points unless there is a mighty improvement in all areas of our play.

Lucky charm? Seen in the Tunis Medina today. The shopowner laughed at the cause of M Salut's interest

Which would leave us rooted solidly in the bottom three with only the deep uncertainties of the January transfer window to raise morale.

But I am not joining any clamour for O’Neill’s head. I am disamayed at his inability to get more from the squad, which does now include players he has brought in, and share the discontent of other Salut! Sunderland readers with his approach to tactics and substitutions. I just don’t see anyone out there who would be so sure to do better as to justify the upheaval a managerial sacking midway throught the season brings.

Tell me I am wrong if you wish.
Also tell me the score for tomorrow’s game. No one correctly guessed the 1-3 scoreline on Saturday, not even the humourless Ted from Chelsea, so I will repeat the buy two/win Two Mugs offer (as in you’d need to be one to take me up on it).

The pair you buy for your auntie or uncle’s Christmas present will knock you back £19 (post free in the UK), and you then get two free ones for yourself. In case you are not with me on O’Neill Should Stay, you can opt for the original design instead of the Martin O’Neill “Team of All Talents – work in progress” one. Or take two of each:

The classic design: 'Salut! Sunderland - a site better'
The Salut! Sunderland MoN mug: 'Team of all Talents - work in progress'

As always, non-SAFC fans can enter. A Reading winner would receive mugs with a suitably tweaked design. Or you can just have a go for fun.

Ha’way the Lads …

Colin Randall disguised as Monsieur Salut, by Matt
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26 thoughts on “Sunderland v Reading: are we now officially in a Sack Race? Guess the Score”

  1. Difficult one this, Reading cant defend where as we seem Ok in that department; however we seem to be lacking in the goals scoring department so this could be a boring 0-0 score draw but I think we will kick start our failing season with a 1-0 win

  2. Well said John. I’ve said elsewhere that there are only 4 current squad members worthy of a place in the team and are fit to wear the shirt. Mignolet, Rose, Cattermole (speed back to fitness Lee) and Fletcher.

  3. 0-0. Another dull, uninspiring performance. Much like we have witnessed all season..I have seen little in the last 2 games to suggest otherwise. Yes it has been marginally better but we had a very low starting point so I’m not getting very excited.

    We have no chance of survival unless the 6 passengers that we have been carrying all season wake up and smell the coffee. Bardsley, O;Shea, Cuellar, Larsson, Gardner, MacLean have been pretty much useless and It is very difficult when half your team are just along for the ride.

    Looking positively my predictions are notoriously hopeless so there is some hope.

  4. I was going for 5-0, to but as Malcolm’s done that I’ll settle for 4-0

    or 3-0
    or 2-0
    or even 1-0

    but I do think we’ll win

    keep the faith

  5. “I am not a great lover of kneejerk change”

    Can this really be described as a knee jerk though Salut?

    Worse than the Doubtfire run this one, and that was hardly an impulsive move. Maybe we should have given him another couple of years as well.

    • Difficult to argue with any of that. I just feel there has to be more to the man’s managerial nous than we’ve seen since late March. Maybe I am deluded by those nine wins out of 16 – or something like it – before the slump. I certainly agree the time has gone for plucky defeats and green shoots. But I’m with the man who said – here, at Facebook or on Twitter – that he’s never willed a manager to succeed as much as he has MoN. I gave Bruce what I felt was deserved understanding and patience but never got close to feeling that way about him.

  6. Pete. Did Crosby not get the sack after the Pools Panel gave our postponed game as a loss? Maybe I’m getting this mixed up with Dennis.

  7. You share the fans doubts about his tactics and substitutions, and feel that he cannot motivate his team. ………given that those are the key essentials required in sports management, why exactly do you think he should stay? Surely almost anyone would be an improvement?

    • I am not a great lover of kneejerk change, William. I cannot agree that almost anyone would be prefereable to O’Neill and certainly don’t feel almost anyone among those available or likely to be interested would make this group of players perform significantly better. You can question this cautious approach – a case can be made that I left it late to seek Bruce’s dismissal, though my view remains that Ellis Short acted at precisely the right time. But I am hoping, admittedly without great justification, that MoN can steer us clear of trouble and once again seem the man for the job he seemed until the later stages of last season.

      It must be as obvious to him as to us that players who were able to raise their game for 16 matches or so after his appointment are not actually good enough at this level. What he can do about that in the short term is open to doubt. Our immediate ambitions have to be modest, ensuring survival and climbing as high as possible before strengthening, properly this time, in the summer. But beyond Mig, Rose, Sess, Fletcher, Johnson and, maybe, Wickham. I cannot think of anyone I’d be especially sad to see replaced. That suggests an awful lot of long-term rebuilding and even quite a big emergency job in the window.

  8. “I’ll go for postponement due to snow…. otherwise 2-0 to us”said Joan.

    O’Neill could become the first manager to keep his job due to a blizzard. We’ll know soon enough, if that is the case whether or not it’s the wrong type of snow.

    This is such a difficult game to try to predict a result but in the end because everyone seems to have been thinking that this fixture is so pivotal even going back to the original postponement I have a sinking feeling that this wil be another chance lost to get out of the mire. Sunderland 2 Reading 2.

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