Salut! Sunderland does not believe in kicking a man when he’s down. Neither Pete Sixsmith nor Colin Randall, who broadly cobble this thing together, has so far joined the crowds gathering in the Tuileries to knit as Madame Guillotine does her work. One more bad result and that could well change. Others are made of hardier stuff; one more bad result would already be too late for our regular contributor and confirmed tricoteur, Jeremy Robson …
Those of us over a certain age have lost count of the relegation battles fought and lost as well as a few that we managed to win to avoid the dreaded drop.
There is a constant in all of those. If you go back over the last 30 years SAFC has consistently and repeatedly failed to dismiss a manager when the time has come.
In nearly all cases we waited too long for someone else to come in and give the team the kick start that was needed. Invariably we allow managers to fail.
Some managers have failed despite the resources given to them, eg Reid and now Bruce. Some have failed because they were simply not up to the job, ie Crosby, Buxton, Butcher, etc. Others may have done better had they been given some money to spend; Ashurst, Smith and McCarthy spring to mind.
Some posters have remarked that to dispense with Bruce now would be a kneejerk reaction. Well it might be if the horrible performances, the shambles in the transfer market, the inability to hang on to players he has signed himself (Bent, Gyan and Cana) went back only to August.
We are not in a slump. Wretched performances and lack of goals are not blips. They have come to represent a permanent state of affairs under Bruce. It is the status quo under his leadership. It is a reflection of him, his management and all that comes with it. It is not neither fleeting nor temporary nor unusual. It is the norm. Our league position is a product of our results and our results are the product of some of the most cackhanded man-managerment, tactical blunders and woeful motivation that we have ever endured as Sunderland supporters.
What distinguishes Bruce from his predecessors is the financial support that he has had from the board. He has spent millions and has had millions come back through the sales of Bent, Henderson and the loan of Gyan.
Despite the amount of money that has been invested we find ourselves with a strike force consisting of a Dane who is disillusioned with Arsenal, a teenager without a PL goal to his name and a young lad from Korea who can’t speak the language. Our senior striker is Fraizer Campbell who will miss most of this season, that is if he ever plays again.
Our current options when it comes to forwards encapsulates “progress” made in the last 12 months under Bruce. Add to that the millions wasted on Da Silva, Riveros, and Angeleri, combined with his haste to get rid of players like Andy Reid and Steed Malbranque for nothing when 32-year-olds at other clubs are commanding millions in transfer fees and you have a précis of Bruce’s failings.
Winning or losing this coming weekend’s fixture against West Brom will prove nothing that hasn’t already been proven several times over.
He’s a likeable, amenable sort of bloke, Steve Bruce, but he’s had his chance at managing this club. He has failed dismally at all levels and demonstrated unequivocally that it is beyond him. No more evidence is needed. That’s why he needs to be sacked and sacked now.
* Salut! Sunderland published the above article with a heavy heart, but this is an open forum. Many readers clearly agree with Jeremy, making Stoke and the second half at Anfield the only flukes of the season so far. And it is significant that the item has soared to the top position of the newsnow.co.uk Sunderland page. Others may feel Jeremy’s shots from outside the box have sailed high over the bar and landed in a world where reality has disappeared. Does Bruce deserve more time to show his team – for it is, indisputably, his team now – can come together and deliver? If you want space to express an opposing view, let me know at the e-mail link you see between the Easy-to-Book and Etineris hotel ads on the right. Or copy and paste firstname.lastname@example.org