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.