Do they mean us? Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs bosses on Bruce

New Feet and jeepImage: Psiaki

Years ago, but some months after the changeover from typewriters to computers, a dopey newsdesk man where I then worked surprised colleagues by asking: “Tell me again. How is it that you log on?”

The poor soul was ridiculed. But I quite like dinosaurs.

Perhaps I was alone in warming to Steve Bruce on reading that he barely knew how to send an e-mail until quite recently, and looked completely blank when asked whether the fitness of his Egyptian signing Elmohamady would be affected by fasting during Ramadan. The reporter persisted: “Or is Elmohamady a Coptic Christian rather than a Muslim then?” And Bruce – who might more pertinently have been asked on what footballing grounds Elmo had been bought – looked blanker skill.

Read moreDo they mean us? Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs bosses on Bruce

Soapbox: a provisional welcome to Martin O’Neill. Heart 1 head 0

It is not quite official. But all the signs are that Martin O’Neill, famously a boyhood supporter of Sunderland, will soon be confirmed – and not for the first time of asking – as our manager. Pete Sixsmith climbs on to his soapbox to offer a hearty, if premature welcome; Salut! Sunderland readers will probably beat M Salut to the news when it formally comes ..


So it looks as if
the heart has won and we are going to appoint Martin O’Neill as the 28th Sunderland manager (including “caretakers”) in my 50 years as a supporter. He joins an auspicious group alongside the likes of Bob Stokoe, Peter Reid and Alan Brown – and also those who had less auspicious times in the Roker/SoL hot seat in Mick Buxton, Ian McColl and Howard Wilkinson.

Read moreSoapbox: a provisional welcome to Martin O’Neill. Heart 1 head 0

Soapbox on life after Steve Bruce: what happens now?


Pete Sixsmith mulls over the two most-mentioned candidates for the managerial seat left vacant by Steve Bruce’s dismissal …


So, the inevitable
has happened and Steve Bruce has left the club. I was in no doubt after Saturday that he was as close as close could be to the sack; when it didn’t come on Monday, I thought he had been thrown a lifeline, but once again, I was wrong.

The owner has done the correct thing as there was little possibility of Bruce retrieving his relationship with the crowd. Three lengthy periods of turgid football and poor results, interspersed with the odd sparkling display, had done for him and it was better to put this horse out of its misery now.

Read moreSoapbox on life after Steve Bruce: what happens now?

Villa ‘Who are You?’: when Ashley Young has us groaning

We went to Chelsea to improve on a 7-2 drubbing and beat them 3-0. Aston Villa had fared even worse last time at the Bridge – 7-1 – and Sunday’s six-goal draw will have done wonders for morale. Isn’t that downright typical, just before they play us? Dominic Wren*, a Villa fan teaching PE in the United States (that’s him with a middle school pupil) regrets the crisis created by Martin O’Neill’s departure but reminds the squad that their job involves being paid for something 40,000 fans would gladly do for nothing …

See also: Pauline McLynn, Villa-supporting actress from Father Ted and Shameless

Salut! Sunderland: Things may change before we meet you but it has been looking a little ominous at Villa Park with some pundits even mentioning the dreaded R word. Surely not!

Dominic (speaking before the Chelsea game): On paper, no chance, but we all know the game is not played on paper. The effort, passion, pride, intensity, what I refer to as the intangibles, the only things the individual player can control are definitely not present at the moment. Which as any fan will tell you, is the least they expect when they pull on the beloved jersey.

Read moreVilla ‘Who are You?’: when Ashley Young has us groaning

What next for Martin O’Neill?


We know a Colchester match report is coming. Please be patient. In the meantime, let Jeremy Robson turn our attention towards Martin O’Neill’s immediate career prospects …

Amid the concerns that some of our fans have raised about Steve Bruce’s management. a constant name was raised in terms of who we might replace him with: the boyhood Sunderland fan, and currently unemployed Martin O’Neill.

Read moreWhat next for Martin O’Neill?

Bruce in? The case against

A week ago, we were hard on those spouting doom and gloom on the strength of an iffy pre-season and a disappointing opening game. But then, after a dismal showing at West Brom (and there is no other sensible way of looking at it), a check on the games to come revealed us to be in a potential pickle. Ask today and we would not replace Steve Bruce. But there are those, eyeing a newly available chap with impeccable credentials from Villa Park, who would disagree. Let Mike Allcock*, a Sunderland fan now living in America, address the point made by Andy Nichol, a fellow subscriber to the Blackcats list: “Well if I was Ellis Short, I’d be inviting O’Neill to dinner over the next few weeks. Just in case, of course.” Salut! Sunderland awaits the opposing view …

Dinner with Martin would be a positive step.

Yes it’s early days for this season, but midterms time for Bruce. He’s made some good decisions as well as some poor ones; he’s far and away better than some of the sh*** we got used to in the late 80s/early 90s and compared with other Sunderland managers in recent years he has a pretty good record. I don’t think Steve Bruce is failing as a manager of SAFC.

Read moreBruce in? The case against