Why David Moyes should remain in charge of Sunderland

Jake's take on Moyes
Jake’s take on Moyes

Not all readers of Salut! Sunderland will agree. But I shall say it anyway. Sunderland AFC, whether in the hands of Ellis Short, a Chinese consortium or the return of a Drumaville or even Sir Bob Murray, should stick with David Moyes.

That may not be fashionable view. It does not imply wholehearted support from Monsieur Salut for all that Moyes has done and said since he replaced Big Sam.

Nor even is it a case of wanting stability or, at any rate, the sort of stability we have now: an annual rush for survival points towards the end of seasons in which the turgid quality of football, and the appalling results, would test the ultimate optimist’s will to live.

I just feel the time has come to halt the succession of managerial upheavals that have brought, each season, a quick fix gained from a combination of passion, guts and good fortune followed by another bout of abject disappointment.

Moyes is a manager of substance. His time at Everton proved that much more than his spells at Old Trafford and in Spain suggested otherwise.

The questions we all feel entitled to raise about Moyes’s brief time at Sunderland are serious ones:

* how can any Premier League manager go nine games without a win and expect to keep his job?

* why did Moyes start talking down our season’s prospects as early as the second game (1-2 at home to Boro)?

* was the purchase
of McNair and Love for a total of £5m really more sensible, on any level, than bringing back Yann M’Vila in spite of Rubin Kazan’s reportedly outrageous financial demands for a player who will be out of contract in January?

* Where was the sense in sending on Billy Jones for Wahbi Khazri with just minutes left at West Ham with the home side looking only marginally more likely than the visitors to snatch victory?

At a guess, Moyes’s replies would not require the assistance of Victor Anichebe’s social media manager. How about …

* I was at a disadvantage from the start, my appointment scandalously delayed by the FA’s dithering over Allardyce. All other Premier clubs had a good start on me in terms of acquiring new players

* I was being realistic and probably saying no more, and perhaps a lot less, than the man in the Sunderland pub

* I do not hold the purse strings. Ask the chairman or CEO

* Ask any manager of a struggling side what he would do in the same circumstances and needing to try to take something from the game

Moyes was a decent bet for the position vacated by Allardyce. Listening to Micky Gray and my old colleague Henry Winter (now of The Times) on TalkSport this morning helped me realise that. Both spoke of the need for Moyes to have time to rebuild, and Gray even seemed reluctantly willing to see the process starting in the Championship.

What we need is not necessarily anything from the EFL 4th round trip to Southampton – pity poor Nick Barnes; he’d sooner have stayed in for Bake Off – but two back-to-back league wins. It would utterly transform our mood, the players’ morale, the club’s chances, even Moyes’s soundbites.

Arsenal at home on Saturday may be an improbable start but we then play Hull at home, Liverpool away. Even Hull at home is a tough match for Sunderland on current form but we have to approach those three ties as ones from which points can be won. If they are not, we are probably stuffed unless Hull, Swansea and Boro utterly collapse in the second of the season and we muddle our way to narrow safety again.

In the meantime, we can appeal to Moyes to be better organised and more upbeat in front of microphones and cameras? Who knows? It could make a difference. But talk of replacing him is, in my view, as self-defeating and unhelpful as it is entirely predictable after nine games producing all of two points.

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
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10 thoughts on “Why David Moyes should remain in charge of Sunderland”

  1. I wish we’d never lost Sam and don’t actually think his obvious greed matters that much in a greedy society, however regrettable it may be.

    But I just feel we need not so much stability (which for us means an annual relegation scare) but continuity. Bringing in troubleshooters for a miracle cure when the cause looks lost has worked only in delivering the immediate fix.

    All but one – Keane, O’Neill, Di Canio, Poyet, Advocaat and Sam – have done the rescue bit only to be unable to develop or even sustain.

    Bruce is the odd one out but also showed in the end, alarming signs of not being up to the task (after having the best season since Reid, 10th top).

    Without the least enthusiasm, I feel Moyes – having proved himself in his main managerial job – must be given two years to see if that rare concept, time, can at last break this grim cycle of wretched football, grim results and a flash of survival excitement.

    • I agree that Sam was doing a good job, although it took him most of the season to begin to get results.

      I can’t help remembering however, that at the first whiff of the national coach possibility, he lost all interest in Sunderland, and that when he was appointed, he did not say a word of appreciation to the club or it’s fans.

      David Moyes had been top of my wish list for the last few years, although in the last couple of years I would have been very happy if Eddie Howe had materialised at the SOL.

      I recognise that DM has not started well, and that he has made some fundamental mistakes. I cannot accept however, that he has suddenly become a poor manager. He was brilliant at Everton, and I agree with the comments of Paul the Everton fan above.

      I think he has been incredibly unlucky with injuries, and I cannot see that any team could achieve very much given this situation [ Brian Clough might have had better success, but he was a genius ]

      So, to summarise, I would stick with Moyes, and I don’t think for a minute that Ellis Short will contemplate otherwise. If we are relegated [ and it looks likely ] I think he would be the best bet to achieve an immediate promotion, because by then, he will have recruited the type of players that he can mould into a successful team. That’s my view.

  2. I feared the worst when Allardyce did nothing on the transfer front despite earlier comments that he was determined to get business done early for pre-season games.

    We were in limbo, the delay left us in a right mess and I don’t understand how, given the fact Moyes’ footy reputation was equal to Sam’s, there was no cohesive handover and the same targets pursued.

    Moyes has been unlucky with injuries and gut-wrenching late goals, while the 3Ks have been poor compared to last season. I think the players he brought in just aren’t good enough, Ndong was dreadful on Saturday, Kone and Khazri were better but probably cos they’re eyeing a move in January. I don’t trust Moyes to find better replacements, but……

    I haven’t got a clue how we improve matters; as has been said already, who would come to the SoL as player or manager?

  3. A single reason to persist with Moyes? Simply put, if we get rid of him, which manager in his right mind would even consider coming to the SoL? That’s leaving aside the fact that perhaps what we really need is a manager who isn’t in his right mind. But, no, we’ve tried that and it didn’t work either.
    If Sam Allardyce has a conscience, which I doubt, it should be giving him sleepless nights for what he did to Sunderland. He gave us hope and then cynically snatched it away, leaving Moyes with an all but insurmountable task. It’s scant comfort that Big Sam quickly got his big comeuppance.
    Our only hope is to make the best of a bad job (which can be laid at Allardyce’s feet rather than Moyes’s) and soldier on.If we go down to the Championship at the end of the season, that’s only what we’ve been tap-dancing around for the last few seasons. Let’s get it over with and reconsolidate, the way the Magpies seem to be doing. It’s not Moyes who’s turned us into a laughing stock, we’ve been that for a while. It’s time to make the footballing world laugh on the other side of its face and if relegation has to be the beginning of that process, then so be it. But getting rid of Moyes would be the worst possible way to start.

  4. Nice article. I’m an Everton fan and am a massive fan of David Moyes. Has he lost his ability to be a quality Premier League manager? Perhaps. His record at Man Utd and so far at Sunderland would reflect that. But before Sunderland panic and sack David I would bring up these two points. Firstly, Everton were slow starters in the Premier league almost perennially under Moyes. I think this was born from him not getting what he wanted most -pre-seasons and taking time to figure out his best team and tactics. I’m watching Sunderland a lot with Moyes there and generally I don’t think you’re far away, and as this article has already pointed out, there has been some rotten luck. In the long run, it’ll get better I think. Secondly, no manager, and I mean no manager, would work as hard as David Moyes to get it right. He is a workaholic. A fighter. He has integrity and will be respected by his players. Sunderland need stability, I’d recommend giving him more time definitely.

  5. There isn’t a single reason why we should persist with Moyes. His approach to the job is moribund, and has been from day one. His signings are dire, worse than terrible, and the football is awful. He has presided over the worst start to a season for any club in the top flight this century, and there is absolutely no sign that things are going to chance for the better. Two points out of nine games. If my Labrador was picking the team we wouldn’t have done any worse.

    He’s a pitiful excuse for a manager that has turned us into the laughing stock of the football world. No decent player, or even a half decent one with an IQ over 50 would even consider coming to us in January. Wigan have sacked Gary Caldwell and need a new boss. That would be about his mark. He was a shocking appointment and needs to be gone sharp.

  6. With so little time before the season started and the transfer window closed it is little wonder that he brought in five players who he knew well from his time at Man Utd and Everton. Transfer business was non existent before he arrived and that isn’t just down to the fact that Sam was being poached by the F.A. or that Martin Bain wasn’t in post until July 1st.

    Successive managers have struggled at Sunderland and although all have managed to avoid relegation only Sam seemed to have found a formula that would help the club progress but he seemed frustrated over the close season, even before the F.A. came calling. To my mind the heart of the problem is not with the manager. The club needs an overhaul and whether or not Chinese ownership would be beneficial is a moot point. What is indisputable, though no doubt some will try, is that SAFC has not improved under the current owner.

    Like many others I am grateful for the money Short has invested in the club but the evidence suggests that it has not been used wisely and that there have been some poor appointments on the non playing side of the club.

  7. I think we all yearn stability and Moyes has the track record to tske us forward it his desire to put his stamp on the club and not even consider the plan in place to take us forward that has upset the supporters. His open statement that he inherited an awful mess is not considering the fact. From January this year we improved gained victories and establidhed a distinct playing style and team spirit. Chelsea, Everton, Man Utd and Norwich away were deserved and great wins. Moyes could and should have built on that but he wanted his own team and savagely destroyed what we had. Kaboul should not have been allowed to leave, M’vila purchased and the funds wasted on N’dong used on a striker. Why did he change so much to come up eith so little thats bit that is hard to understand. He did not take over a mess but if he leaves the

    • Agreed Keith , we were a decent team in the last few months of last season , the form table proved that . We’re a terrible team now and its cost us the best part of £ 20 million to get there . The biggest reasons are the ins and outs of Moyes only transfer window to date . Had he even watched our club last season ? I’d give Moyes more time ,simply because its a mess of his own making and we’d be an even bigger laughing stock than we already are by sacking yet another ‘ name’ manager . He has been very unlucky with injury’s though and that is a mitigating factor .

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