Salut! Sunderland’s 13 years and 13 managers. The PDC era – mudslides and mayonnaise

Ho ho ho(a)’way the lads

John McCormick writes. Pete Sixsmith is still on Santa duty and mad busy. Even so he found the time to compose another epic piece. It’s better than the Labour manifesto or the Queen’s speech and more honest and compelling than anything from Boris.

And we aren’t even half way through Pete’s series, recalling the men in charge at SAFC during the time Salut! Sunderland has been on the interweb!

Read moreSalut! Sunderland’s 13 years and 13 managers. The PDC era – mudslides and mayonnaise

From the archives: as John O’Shea departs, let’s look back at looking at Paolo

'You decide,' as Jake used to say. But is there a middle ground?
‘You decide,’ as Jake used to say. But is there a middle ground?

Monsieur Salut writes: Pete Sixsmith’s piece on the departures of John O’Shea, Robbie Stockdale and Adrian Tucker – a fond farewell but measured and excellently argued – got one or two talking about Paolo Di Canio. ‘JoS stood up to the ridiculous bullying of Di Canio,’ Pete wrote. Jeff, in response, felt PDC went ‘because players didn’t want to work hard and John was part of that’.

I have a good anecdote that concerns the infamous drinking culture at the club and supports the Sixer view of John O’Shea, but it is probably not one I can yet share without my informant’s consent. Ken Gambles, however, reminds me of a piece he wrote here back in 2014, at the time of the controversy about PDC’s man-management techniques and that can be repeated ….

Read moreFrom the archives: as John O’Shea departs, let’s look back at looking at Paolo

Crowing About: why Coleman’s words are cutting the mustard

Jake: ‘click my image to join the Salut! Sunderland Facebook group’

For his second contribution to the pages of Salut! Sunderland,  Martin Crow compares and contrasts – favourably – the Chris Coleman way with words, when talking publicly about Sunderland AFC, with the mix of gibberish, gallows humour, boorishness, beyond-the-pale philosophy and heavy gloom that has gone before …

Read moreCrowing About: why Coleman’s words are cutting the mustard

Gambles Rambles: a cry for fairness on Paolo Di Canio

'You decide,' as Jake used to say. But is there a middle ground?
‘You decide,’ as Jake used to say. But is there a middle ground?

Is it possible to believe both that Ellis Short was utterly right to dismiss Paolo Di Canio when he did and that not every scathing appraisal of PDC was fair? Ken Gambles regards the merits of the sacking to be proper ground for debate but finds unjust and unpleasant the almost cliched view of the Italian as a man not quite right in the head …

Read moreGambles Rambles: a cry for fairness on Paolo Di Canio

Birflatt Boy gives Sunderland’s recruitment policy Short shrift.

It’s fair to say that recent results have brought about increased hope in the minds of Sunderland supporters the world over. We know there’s still a long way to go if the club is to get out of the mess in which it finds itself but where, only a few short weeks ago, there was nothing to be seen but the withering flower of certain relegation, the green shoots of optimism are poking through. Martin O’Neill’s sacking, Paulo Di Canio’s appointment, player revolts and Di Canio’s subsequent dismissal have provoked debate amongst the red and white faithful about just who is responsible for the precarious position which Gus Poyet inherited. Through it all the club’s owner Ellis Short has, by and large, escaped unscathed from criticism but never shy to vent his opinions, Salut! Sunderland’s Birflatt Boy has a question him.

The Three Stooges

Birflatt Boy adding weight to the argument
Birflatt Boy adding weight to the argument

It’s time for Ellis Short to answer a few very simple questions. In fact he needs to answer only one simple question. What the bloody hell is going on at our club?

Paulo Di Canio has eventually spoken out about his time at Sunderland, brief though it was. Our former “coach” has revealed that he didn’t want any of the players that were signed during the summer. In fact he went on to say that he thought 80% of our players should be English. To the mind of a simple Birflattian, this is only confirming what most of us thought, and assumed was the basis of SAFC’s “new model.”

As we know, the early models of any car are more likely to spend considerably more time at the dealership with a whole host of glitches and problems than later models. This SAFC hot hatch was no exception. Back in the summer PDC made it clear that he wanted a playmaker. He “has to be English.” It was widely assumed that the player he was referring to was Tom Huddlestone, who went to Hull City. In retrospect it’s even more apparent that Huddlestone was the man he wanted, but PDC didn’t get him. Instead he was provided with a Korean loanee by way of Swansea. Our scouting is being led by two Italians who knew nothing (hopefully they know a little more now), about English football when they were given total responsibility for player recruitment. Significantly, Gus Poyet commented earlier this week to say that he wanted more input to player recruitment than his predecessor. Let’s bloody well hope so Ellis, because this model has become the Ford Edsel of the footballing world, and it needs to be overhauled right now.

PDC has carried the can for this whole mess and become the scapegoat for the failure of the team. Responsibility doesn’t rest solely with him. In the fullness of time, PDC may become a very good coach. He is possibly too honest and open about what he thinks, although few of us would argue against most of his opinions. Against that are serious questions about his judgment and approach to players.

At the top of this article I suggested that there was one question, but in reality there is another. If the two remaining Italians are responsible for player recruitment, then who is responsible for deciding which players are sold and when? Is this also the role of the scouts (and former agent), or is this Poyet’s job? Thoughts and opinions on a postcard please?


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Jake flags the new feature allowing you to have your say on topic or off
Jake flags the new feature allowing you to have your say on topic or off

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How the national media got it wrong on PDC

Commentary

John McCormick writes: 

Malcolm Dawson was editing this but to save an unavoidable delay I’ve stepped in to  finish. Those of you who are as old as Malcolm and myself might remember a rock band by the name of Ten Years After, one of whose albums was entitled Positive Vibrations. This tenuous fact allows me to introduce a new writer, Michael Lough*, who Ten Years After his first visit to the SoL (or was it Roker? Work it out for yourselves), puts pen to paper to bring you his thoughts. Does he have positive vibrations? Make your own mind up as you get to grips with Michael’s take on the media’s response to the hiring and firing of Paolo Di Canio:

Read moreHow the national media got it wrong on PDC

Paolo Di Canio: ‘no bust-up, I could have turned things round’

'You decide,' Jake used to say.
‘You decide,’ as Jake used to say

Things are never quite what they seem. That probably applies as much to a statement released by Paolo Di Canio to Sky Sports News today as to comments made by at least one senior Sunderland player following his dismissal as head coach. In the statement, PDC denies there was any “training ground bust-up” and claims that with more time, he could have led Sunderland to safety.

Read morePaolo Di Canio: ‘no bust-up, I could have turned things round’

The art of managing Sunderland: Quinn to PDC minus one

So who’s next? Will Ellis Short stick with Bally or go for one of the candidates we’ve seen mentioned – for example Gus Poyet, Rene Meulensteen, Gianfranco Zola and Stuart Pearce – or someone else entirely? Whoever it is, we should expect it to mean work for the Sunderland-born, Sunderland-supporting artist Owen Lennox, who now describes his labour of love …

In the 83/84 season when Alan Durban was the manager, Sunderland made an important signing, Chris Stevens. Rarely had Roker Park seen such artisty. Not since the board had commissioned the Hemy painting that now hangs majestically in reception at SoL had the club invested in so much money in art. Chris Stevens was appointed as artist in residence on a year’s contract valued at £7,000.

Read moreThe art of managing Sunderland: Quinn to PDC minus one