als home

 

THE SUMMER BEGINS…
NEW GAFFER SPECULATION

Well there’s nothing going on other than the press talking about our next manager! Sam Allardyce has randomly resigned at Palace boss, but claims he’s retiring and not coming back to Sunderland, which is a shame because that would be a solution. More weirdly former SAFC player, Stefan Schwarz, who holds the FIFA Pro Licence and has experience as assistant manager at Helsingborg and with the Sweden Under-21s squad, seems keen. Schwarz said: "I spent four very good years at Sunderland and it is a club that I care very much for. I have played for some very big clubs in Europe and won a lot of trophies, but my time at Sunderland is right up there with any of those. I think I understand the mentality of the Sunderland fans, and the culture of the area. Sunderland teams have to have an identity, and the players need to know their duties and responsibilities to each other. I also know how to work with players from many different cultures, which is important in the modern game. Of course, if the chance came to manage Sunderland, I would be very interested."

Here’s the odds on next Sunderland manager
Nigel Pearson – 9/2
Kevin Phillips – 15/2
Derek McInnes – 15/2
Roy Keane – 12/1
Ryan Giggs – 12/1
David Wagner – 14/1
Alan Pardew – 16/1
Roy Hodgson – 20/1
Garry Monk – 20/1
Paul Lambert – 20/1
Slavisa Jokanovic – 20/1
Claudio Ranieri – 25/1
Steve McClaren – 25/1
Sean Dyche – 33/1

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

AND SO IT ENDS…
BY CHRIS HARRIS

Even if you are of the (perfectly) valid opinion that such action should have been taken some months ago when more could have been done, you must celebrate that the action was taken promptly enough to secure a replacement in time for the new gaffer to have the best possible chance of turning this ship around.

We can lament ad nauseum about Moyes failures as a man manager, tactician, even interview subject but the reality is when the history of our club is written he’ll be little more than a footnote.

Personally, my overwhelming emotion was of relief. I was relieved that he was going, relieved that he wasn’t lining his pockets on the way out and relieved that we could all draw a line under last season. Next came a mixture of excitement and trepidation. This is both an opportunity and a banana skin. If Short and Bain manage to convince a talented, forward looking coach to come and back him to get us moving forward after years of steady regression, I’m certain the fans will come together and get behind him. I’ve argued previously that a drop in divisions affords us an opportunity to develop a more attacking, fearless team. The new man should be told that we fear no one in this division. With Moyes gone we have the prospect of this becoming a reality. Without doubt his negativity would have seeped on to the pitch and, ultimately, the stands had he remained in place.

However, they could just as easily get it wrong. Some of the names (including the favourites) have already made me shudder. The current bookies favourites are (in order);

Kevin Philips (3/1), Aitor Karanka (9/2), Nigel Pearson (5/1), Ryan Giggs (7/1) and Gary Monk (8/1).

Let’s all agree that Philips is a totally unknown quantity in this respect, yes it would make us all feel warm and lush inside if he turned up and did the business, but without some form of track record as a first team manager that is a huge gamble to take at this point. It also leads us down that Mag style sentimental bollocks which rarely serves anyone.

Karanka and Pearson are merely extensions of the mantra we have just escaped. Neither of them get on well with the media (and if rumours are to be believed, players). We need a manager that can make us more appealing and positive stories in the media are an important facet of this. I also think they’re both over rated; Karanka failed as badly as Moyes last season and if you believe that Pearson built a title winning team you must also concede that he could barely keep said team in the league.

Let’s not discuss Giggs, he doesn’t get to inherit this job. I like the idea of Monk, he’s shown he’s capable at both championship and premier league level. He managed the circus at Leeds and got them playing, the fans love him and the press don’t hate him.

Alongside Monk, I’d love to see moves made for Wagner at Huddersfield or Jokanovic at Fulham, although he should recognise that either of these would be a coup for us in our current state, the fact that the bookies don’t have either of them in the reckoning is telling. But if the club showed ambition and can present a reasonable plan, we are still the most attractive proposition in the championship. We’re big hitters at this level and we should act like it. One of the things that most annoyed me about Moyes was the way he acted like he was doing us a favour by managing Sunderland. Hopefully his replacement will acknowledge what an opportunity this is and start to build an affinity with the fans. How hard can this actually be? We took Nyron Nosworhty to heart man!

The other pleasing aspect of the timing of Moyes departure is that we don’t lose any ground to Middlesbrough in the hunt for a new manager. This was crucial as Steve Gibson has recently claimed (quite fairly by all accounts) that in financial terms, Middlesbrough will be the strongest club in the championship. His track record of support with managers and said wedge on offer will make that an appealing prospect for the same managers we’ll be looking at.

Short and Bain have to convince a manager on the up that this is a project with a positive future in the offing. In truth, they will need to compromise, if the support they are offered financially can’t match that on offer to the new Middlesbrough manager then the stated aims must be reduced accordingly. Promotion by any means seems fair, but in the event that we fall just short (say, in the play offs), our new man must be assured that he will not be booted.

We can only speculate at what is on offer as no one knows what shape the finances are in, but rumour has it that the by virtue of contract clauses and player sales the wage bill will be practically halved. There are also unconfirmed reports that the bumper parachute money (thanks again to McLaren and Benitez) will be held to absorb the drop in income, but any money generated from player sales will be handed back to the manager to rebuild the team. That would seem a fair compromise between ambition and common sense and that approach should enable the new man to build a team that can compete. Look at what Wagner inherited at Huddersfield and where they are now, or what Jokanovic has had to deal with at Watford for instance.

Regardless of who we get next, we need to get behind him. The great depression is over, hopefully, we can start having a bit of fun now. Unless it’s fucking Padrew like...

See ya in the north stand.

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

WHERE WERE YOU WHILE WE WERE GETTING HIGH?
BY FTM

Where were you when you heard the news David Moyes had gone? I was in the office, telling another workmate exactly why David Moyes needed to go (and, on this occasion, accompanying the five-minute rant to the Huddersfield fan by saying just how much I think his gaffer would be a decent fit).

The news of the Scot's departure caught many of us out. If it was going to happen, it seemed it was going to be later in the week as that was when he was getting together with Ellis Short and Martin Bain. I certainly didn't see it coming and feared he would be around to lead us towards the lower end of the Championship before Short decided to act. Thankfully, that didn't happen and he realised that the quest for stability and a supposed safe pair of hands has backfired, meaning we can draw a line under one of the grimmest chapters in recent times. 

It's not understating the situation to say that Moyes is the worst boss we've had since Lawrie McMenemy. We've had a couple of pups since he left in 1987, of course, but Moyes had more to work with than the others. Stand still and you go backwards - and that's exactly what we've done under him. The bloke looked devoid of any ideas and inspiration from the start and seemed haunted after turning Manchester United into Manchester Untied.

The sad thing is, in the search for stability, we've come a cropper by going for the proverbial "football man" - aka someone with bags of experience. It's a spark which has got us over the line in the previous four years but there wasn't one of those from Moyes and the legacy of his 10 months in charge is that we've lost our place at the top table and will have to work flaming hard to get it back. 

Negative from day one, he got money to spend but wasted it, opting for what appeared to be a "let's see" approach. He seemed to treat the fans with disdain too and there was similar treatment for the press, particularly if you were a woman...

He assured us he wasn't kidding anyone, before trying to kid us that performances were improving when they really weren't. And the fact he was talking about performances in an industry where all the others know results are what matter, certainly at that stage of the season, prove he really was out of touch and out of ideas. I'd love to have been present at a training session or two, as there was very little evidence of industry and endeavour.

It was sadly appropriate that his final game contained two shocking decisions. How he managed to go along with the whole John Terry substitution thing I don't know. It made us look amateurish and just happy to be a part of the whole, er, affair. And then there was the late substitution. If taking youngsters Joel Asoro, Josh Maja and Elliott Embleton down for some experience was his idea, it was a good one. However, not giving one of them the last two minutes and choosing the utterly atrocious Darron Gibson for the job undermined it.

Gibson is a fine example of how stale things had gone. He didn't come cheap and you'd have thought he'd have worked hard to repay Moyes' loyalty - but he's offered nothing in terms of creativity and genuinely looks like he'd rather be anywhere else but earning thousands with us. 

And in a season when Bradley Lowery is arguably the brightest light in red and white, contrast the differing attitudes of Jermain Defoe and Moyes to the little battler. During the Swansea game, the Scot chose not to get involved in the applause for him. A bit harsh maybe to expect a manager to get involved when a game is going on - until you consider that Paul Clement, who had plenty on his plate with survival still to be achieved, did put his hands together. Our goose was well and truly cooked, yet even then Moyes turned down a small opportunity to improve his PR and show his human side. Good riddance pal.
  
Who do I want next? We're not the draw we were now we're not a Premier League side but Garry Monk's got real appeal, I'm not upset to see Kevin Phillips linked with the job, and I'd take David Wagner too (in my dreams).

But that's a discussion for another day. A big cloud lifted yesterday evening, even if events in Manchester darkened the skies just hours later and put things in perspective again. Thoughts to all those affected...

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

MOYES LEAVES BUT THE ROT IS SET IN DEEP
BY PADDY HOLIS

The first day of the post-season period has brought with it the resignation of David Moyes. This could well be a great day for the club and the start of a fresh new chapter. In all honesty, the uncharismatic Scotsman has got away with murder. He can walk away now from the mess he has left us in and it will be a long summer of rebuilding for whoever is his successor.

For me, the last straw for Moyes occurred in the 5-1 defeat at Chelsea yesterday. The way he agreed for us to put the ball out of play for John Terry to be worshiped off of the pitch made us look very small and to be honest, quite pathetic, which considering how utterly terrible we have been this season is a surprise.

I was quietly confident when he was first appointed. Yes, he had struggled at his last two jobs but his work with Everton gave me hope. ‘If he can do it to Everton, why not us?’ I thought with a naive grin on my face. What a silly bugger I was.

It really is fantastic he has gone. He conjured up negativity around the club which was frustratingly sickening and at times just downright depressing. Watching him tell the fans to expect a relegation fight was unbelievable. The man has no self-confidence in his ability so how the hell was he going to motivate a group of mediocre players to step up and fight for the club.

This lack of strength and, to a more extreme extent, dignity from Moyes has been reflected in our performances this season. We have lacked any moral fiber, fight and in 95% of situations our gutless group of players hasn't been arsed to play for the shirt. They are some of the worst players I’ve seen play for my club and the sooner some of the greedy mercenaries move elsewhere the better as the club and us as fans deserve so much better.

A fine example of this from our game at Chelsea was the way that our defence stood still as the hosts glided through time after time. The mistake from Lescott for their third was an example of a poor player making simple mistakes and many of Moyes’ signings have done this throughout the campaign.

The further news this evening of JD opening up talks with Bournemouth is hardly surprising. I don’t blame him for wanting to get out ASAP. Pickford is the same. The lad deserves so much better and I’m sure he will still be in the Prem next season. As for the rest, there is a handful who I would like to see stay. The remainder of the squad isn't worthy of a chance to make up for their diabolical performances this season.

The relief will be etched across the face of many a Sunderland fan after finding out Moyes has gone. We need to put this horrible season behind us and get ready for the hard slog of the Championship. Getting rid of Moyes will allow for a new and hopefully more positive vibe to come back into the club. I struggle to think of a team who would want Moyes as their next boss, especially after seeing his 16% win rate he had with us his campaign. However, the issues with our club won’t be solved by his departure. The structure of the club is a mess and we may struggle to be an attractive prospect to any decent players (or now managers) in the Championship. Our owner seems to show as little interest as possible and our scouting network is what has contributed to relegation through the signing of poor players for years now. We will bounce back, and getting rid of Moyes is a positive step, but next year will be a tough year of alteration and acclimatisation. Its times like this we as a fan base need to stick by the club.

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

MOYES GONE
BY SOBS

He's gone. Inevitable, really. Now that Dour Dave's gone, in one of the least surprising moments of his reign on Wearside, we feel a sense of relief that matches the sense of relief we had 24 hours earlier when the shambles of a season was finally over.

We'd spent a decent part of the train ride home today discussing the possible outcome of today's meeting between Moyes and Short, and had decided that it would probably go something like:
"I need £x million now to rebuild the team"
"You can't have it"
"Jings, crivvens, help m'boab, ah cannae work with the shower I've brought in. I'm aff."

Mebbe not, but I wouldn't bet against that being the gist of it. Just as there were few who didn't think he was a better than decent choice last summer, there are few who are not pleased to see the back of him. Personally, I've retained a bit of the wish for continuity that we all want. and hence didn't turn right against him - the first manager to complete a full season since Bruce - as soon as a sensible man would. Now he's gone, however, I've stopped (and it was very easy to stop) feeling any loyalty towards him, and can stop defending his daft decisions and statements just because he was our gaffer. I know injuries haven't helped, but you never got the impression at any stage of the season that there was any attempt to establish a Sunderland way, a pattern of play. I know Chelsea are the polar opposite of us, but no matter what the name on the back of the shirt, they played the same formation and when they made a substitution it was either to try something different in terms of passing, or a like for like in the case of an injury. We just seemed to be a bit of a Sunday morning set-up - see who's fit and give it a try. Every move during the season seems to have been preceded by an excuse. "the players I'm bringing in aren't any better than those already here" "the players just aren't good enough" - the list is virtually endless, and the August declaration that we were in a relegation battle proved to be 100% spot on. Apart from the "battle" bit, as it's something we only seemed to do to restore a tiny bit of pride by not getting whupped by one of the Big Teams.

Perhaps Moyes realised pretty early on that he wasn't going to get the money he wanted and began his seemingly endless stream of negativity, which can't have helped the mindset of the players. Refusing to play Khazri for months, and thus depriving the team of his energy, probably affected the other players as well, as Wabi is a very popular bloke amongst the squad. Everton fans, for all his relative success there, called him Dithering Dave as he always seemed to wait too long to make a substitution. He leaves our club after one of the worst seasons in our history, with high points being those wins (pitifully few that they were) and the low points every other game, and us fans with the impression that he never really looked like he wanted to be here. He also leaves a bunch of ex-Everton players who probably only came because of Moyes (aye, I know what you're thinking) - will they want to stay? Do we want them to? Will the new man/men/woman/women want them?

Who next? I reckon it has to be someone fairly young but with a bit of experience and a will to impose a style of play, which immediately brings to mind the likes of Wagner, Monk, Jokanovic, and perhaps Staam spring to mind, although anyone with any sense would look at us and what's happened over the last few seasons and think "it's a Hell of long way to fall from that job." Nigel Pearson has been mentioned, and whilst his discipline would be welcome, he's as flaky as owt. Ryan Giggs looks about as inspiring as well, Moyes, and has zero management experience. Then we come to the dreamers' choice of Kevin Phillips plus one - again, zero experience, but he has his coaching badges, for what they're worth, knows the club, or knew the club as it was when he was here. Today is very different, but perhaps he knows what the "thing" is that's wrong but that nobody can identify. Whoever it is, we need to make sure they fully understand what they're taking on and that they're open and honest with the fans, and the club are open and honest with them, but someone with at least a hint of a smile on their face. Please.

Which brings the next question - who will be advising Ellis Short on who to appoint?

I'll leave you with that one.

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

POOR DELUDED FOOL
BY GARY BURRELL

Three years ago, David Moyes left Everton as the "New Alex Ferguson". Today he leaves Sunderland as the "New Alex McLeish"

A few months ago I was watching Sky Sports News, and an item on the newly vacant managerial role at Rangers FC. They showed footage from after a Scottish football match that had been on TV that day, where Alex McLeish had been a pundit in the studio. The presenter asked him if Rangers had been in touch with him, and if he wanted the job. I can't recall any of his words. I can't remember if he said that Rangers had contacted him, but I do think he said he wanted the job.

What I do remember however, is thinking that he came across as one of the most miserable, uninspiring, boring blokes I have ever seen interviewed. I get the fact that people can be totally different off-camera ('they' reckon Nigel Pearson is a cracking bloke and not the prick he appears to be on screen. Although I'm personally sure about that like...) but this was hideous. I remember thinking that McLeish's name had cropped up previously on the list of managers that are churned out by the bookies and the media every year, when we are looking for a new gaffer. And I remember thinking I would hate for him to be SAFC Manager. Then it struck me....

Setting aside the obvious factors of Nationality and hair colour, the pair of them come across like men who believe the world owes them a favour. That nothing is ever their fault. They enjoyed a good few years of success in football management, but despite this being some time ago, they still class themselves as a 'Top, top, Manager'. But mainly, they both just seem to be really negative, really dull and really broken men. And that is how David Moyes will be remembered by many Sunderland supporters.

Nearly all of those that have briefly held the position of SAFC boss in recent years, have given us 'something'. And I don't just mean saving our Premier League status. Whether it be Di Canio sliding down the St James Park touchline, Poyet getting us to a Cup Final, Allardyce working wonders in a transfer window, Bruce achieving a top half finish (you may recall him mentioning this) or O'Neill's early months of late goals and victories over the like of Man City & Arsenal. What has Moyes given us? Nothing. Not even a slap, although he did threaten to once.

It seems almost fitting that his resignation came a day after rolling over and having his belly tickled (he definitely wouldn't have laughed by the way) by Chelsea, and their skin-crawling tribute to John Terry. A weakness that typified his time at our club. Setting in place from the beginning an expectation that we were nothing other than cannon fodder. Already doomed to fail. Just there to make up the numbers. Our time in the top flight was up in his eyes, and he was just being honest when he told us so.

Well thanks for the honesty David. I would say thanks for the memories, but there are none to thank you for.

Oh, and cheers for not taking any compensation too - Mr Short has went on record to say this is a "testament of your character", I personally think anything else would have been "taking the piss" - and enjoy your next role in football. Which I expect to be a place on the list of candidates for the position of Scotland Manager. Alongside Alex McLeish....

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

MOYES GETS OFF SCOT FREE
BY LIAM CARSON

David Moyes has escaped Sunderland this afternoon but, while nearly all Sunderland supporters have headed out to buy some fireworks and sparklers to celebrate the Scot’s departure, some of those supporters also have feelings of annoyance, frustration and anger.

As the weeks of the season drifted by, Moyes somehow remained at the helm, even with the vocal disapproval from the stands.

It was in these moments that Moyes failed to have the courage and dignity to admit that he was not capable, competent or suited to the role that had been bestowed upon him.

His failure to act in moments like this, where there was a chance of salvation for the club, which makes the timing of his departure today, so hard to swallow.

Moyes, like the entire Stadium of Light, knew the club was only heading in one direction. The former Manchester United manager could have left weeks prior to our relegation, it could have provided that ‘new manager bounce’ however, he failed to act.

Moyes did not have a plan A, never mind a plan B. He refused to admit this due to his pride and ‘reputation’. Now we are left relegated and manager-less, while he has absconded, leaving us in the same position we were a decade ago, having to pick ourselves back up again.
The man was a coward. He blamed all others for the club’s failings. He admitted hiding from supporters instead of applauding their faith and support. He hid behind his past success.

Moyes had, in his own mind, developed an aura of grandeur and magnificence. The former Everton manager, to survive, was suckling off the lasting moisture of his success, from almost a decade ago, and spewed that towards the media. This self-delusion made him believe that, as a former Manchester United manager, ‘the chosen one’, he was bigger than Sunderland.

When he arrived in the summer, it was interesting, Ellis Short stated: “The fact that David has committed to a four-year deal is a clear demonstration of his belief in what he can achieve here.’

Famous last words, utter irony, depressingly Sunderland. You can chose your own description of that quote.

The disappearance of clear leadership, a lacking of real belief in the squad and limiting achievement to maybe surviving a relegation battle is why Moyes failed at Sunderland.

Last week I wrote that it would be almost criminal to let Moyes exit the club on his own terms, following our relegation. The man has been the first manager since Steve Bruce to have a full season in charge, a change in policy that has resulted in the worst possible outcome.

Why now though?
It could be that Moyes’ arrogance and self-delusion has led him to believe that he is too big of a fish to swim in the Championship pool. It didn’t stop the Champions League winner, Rafa Benitez, though, and look how that turned out.

Maybe he didn’t get the financial backing that he needed to improve the squad sufficiently, to make it competitive. It would be hard to say that this was not likely to be a factor. It is well noted that Moyes has routinely implied it as the crux of the talks and negotiations between him, Ellis Short and Martin Bain. It is also well noted that the club has limited resources to play with. It is therefore, logical to assume that this is where Moyes got up and left. Benitez stayed at Newcastle with the knowledge he had financial backing and could sell off players like Wijnaldum, Dummett and Townsend for decent fees to fund a promotion bid. It is the lack of these nice things that means Sunderland are unlikely to come straight back up.

Moyes also has his reputation to think about. He’s already crashed and burned in the Premier League, if he was to crash and burn in the Championship then he would be lucky if he was to get his next job in the Moldovan fourth division.

It could be one of these, it could be all of them or it could be something completely different that I have yet to have the slightest of desires to even think about.

One thing is for certain though, Moyes is not a saint for deciding not to take any compensation. The Scot failed to keep us up, he has then left us while we are at our lowest and apparently, he could have taken up to £3 million of compensation for his ‘services’. The club’s funeral service maybe. He did the right thing for once, in not taking the money, but there shall be no applause. He shall now be instructed to sneak off silently into the darkness and we should now not dwell on the difficulties of this season, but look to the next.

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

GONE DADDY GONE
BY DAVID POUT

Not sad to see Moyes go but sad that we didn't get rid of him months ago if this was always the likely outcome of relegation. Above everything else that has happened I cannot understand the huge gulf in understanding between Short and Moyes that has been hinted at in Moyes press conferences all season. It seems Short always wanted Moyes as his Manager because he built Everton up on a shoestring, but Moyes simply couldn't be arsed to do that anymore. His short spell at Man United seems to have stroked his ego to a level that he can't justify with his results. He may have one of the biggest win ratios over the last 20 years but I'm pretty sure his win ratio for the last four years would be one of the worst in global football. And like any business partnership, a confused strategy combined with seemingly awful communication between him Ellis Short eventually led to failure and a separating of ways.

I have always wanted to believe in Ellis Short as I think he genuinely wants success on the pitch despite also wanting it in the club accounts. However, to date he has got neither right and has made bad decision after bad decision. His experimentation with Directors of Football has been laughable. How he runs his other businesses successfully I struggle to comprehend as his continuing run of badly advised decisions has led us to where we are now. I hope the only way is up for Ellis now as the opposite is unthinkable.

Ultimately Short has no real link with our club other than a financial one. It can't be in his heart the way it is in ours. So, I won't be surprised to see the club run on a shoestring in the championship until the books are balanced and he can find a buyer willing to invest in a 'sleeping giant'. If that's the case I hope we go for a young, hungry, passionate manager who sees it as the challenge of his life and is proud to be our Manager. Instead of the fear and pessimism I have had to listen to for the last nine months I want to hear pride and determination in our Managers voice every time I hear him. Most of all I want our club to have a leader I can believe in again.

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

ON PAPER IT WAS OBVIOUS.
BY GILES MOONEY

I was as confident when Moyes arrived as I was when O'Neill came in. Maybe that's when I should have realised. I'd wanted him at Sunderland since he got the Everton job. The logic was clear. He'd built Preston and Everton over a period of time, developing youngsters and gradually moving the club up the league with a structure on and off the pitch. Could he repeat that with us? Well, it wasn't great. In fact it wasn't good. In fact it was odd.

Players who'd looked fitter, happier and more involved towards the end of last season got injured. Too many to be unlucky, so presumably down to training and motivation or poor medical support and fitness.

Young players arrived as expected in Love, McNair and Ndong and others were promoted to first team action but they immediately looked out of their depth and unsure of their roles. Then they got injured too. Or demotivated as they were dropped without having done anything obviously wrong.

The only player to look fit all season has been Defoe. A player who famously looks after his own fitness regime.

Moyes was an organiser, especially defensively. Always had been. And yet our defence looked like they'd never met. Formations were always chosen because the other team were good at something we weren't, never to play to our strengths.

Set pieces were, well, not set.

Allardyce had brought organisation, morale and fitness. Moyes threw that all away with his actions, selections, substitutions, attitude to the fans, interviews and media interactions. Sad but it's all inevitable after that early comment knocking the players. Was it a desperate attempt to get support from Short? We'll never know.

Whatever has happened though, his departure is a blessing as we look to a new beginning. We were, as many opposing fans have told us, in the wrong division. Ten years of falling out of love with football is over. Keeping Moyes would have been like dating the nurse from Dignitas. We need to move on.

As we look to the future it's worth noting that I don't blame him entirely and replacing him will do nothing unless we look at the business, the back room, the trainers, the medical team, the scouting structure, the money. But, of course, they're not things managers do in their first year so, first things first, let's get a manager who might have a second year.

My wish. Phillips with Reid playing the Saxton role.

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

MOYES FUCKS OFF…
BYE

David Moyes has resigned! Jesus, why keep him all season and then let him go, should have sacked him at Xmas! Ellis Short stated: “I pursued the services of David Moyes for a considerable period prior to his appointment last summer, which makes the announcement of his departure difficult for everyone concerned. Having worked tirelessly throughout the campaign to avoid relegation from the Premier League, David has chosen to leave the club without compensation, which is testament to his character. In the days ahead we will take some time for reflection, and then focus on recruitment and pre-season as we prepare for our Championship campaign. We wish David well in the future.”

David Moyes said: “I would like to thank Ellis Short and the Board for giving me the opportunity to manage Sunderland and the fans for always being so passionately supportive of their club. I wish the players and my successor well in their efforts towards promotion back to the Premier League”.

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

post chelsea craic…
REACTION

Sunderland were beaten 5-1 away at Chelsea in our last Premier League game. An early goal from Javier Manquillo was cancelled out by 5 Chelsea strikes, signalling why the champions are the champions, and why we are going down with a whimper. Things can only get better. David Moyes had this to say afterwards: “I don't think we deserved [the game] to finish in the fashion it did. For long periods the players did their best to hang in there. Chelsea are top for a reason and we tried to make the gap between the two teams as small as possible. Players came in and acquitted themselves well. Joleon Lescott did fine in his first game, against a top team. We had some of the young lads with us and it's good for them to see what the top level is like. If they can take something from it, it's to look at the size of the top players, their ability and how they play. We've had a difficult week with Arsenal and now Chelsea – two difficult games. It's been painful at times. We are gutted about the season, but now we have to get over it quickly and get ready to go again.”

Meanwhile Moyes reckons he won’t sell Jordan Pickford for less than £30million. Moyes said: "It would need to be a really, really big offer. I have said all through the season that sometimes on your journey, you may have to sell to improve. But I have heard some really derisory sort of figures getting mentioned, and it wouldn't be any of those figures, I can tell you that."

HERE'S ALS’ ITV BLOG
It ain't over 'til it's over, goes the saying, but us Sunderland fans know it was over for definite a fortnight ago and all but statistically way before that. Actually, it's a blessing that the whole wretched thing really IS over at last.

Nevertheless, we set off for the traditional last away game weekend of frolics on Saturday, unsurprised that virtually a full team had cried off with injuries, and still wondering if we could manage Julio's Wembley dream as well as, or instead of, Chelsea's champions party.

Also under discussion, naturally, was the fact that Moyes seems to have actually lightened up since relegation was confirmed. Pressure off, perhaps?

Quick pint in Hartlepool's wonderful Rat Race bar, 1242 train south with assorted Mackems and Sanddancers, bags hoyed into hotel, bit scran as we willed Bradford to beat Milwall - look, I don't care if everything south of the river is two for a pahnd, Bradford is a lot closer- then off to see Dr Feelgood via the Euston Tap. Don't say we ignore the culture of the capital! Whether Sunderland boy Robert Kane heard our Haway the Lads chant as we appealed for the encore we'll never know.

Everyone in and around the Bloomsbury hotel area seemed to be from Shields (mostly) or Sunderland and showed no signs of slowing down when I hoyed the towel in.

Mind, when the team was announced and there was no Defoe, we feared even worse. Nevertheless, a bright start saw a Deb free deflect nicely for Manquillo to blast his first and last SAFC goal into the roof of the net. Five minutes later the almost inevitable, and definitely unstoppable, equaliser went in from Willian off Pickford's hand and that was about it. Terry's cameo lasted 26 minutes, ending his Chelsea career as it had begun, against us. Level atthe break, their second on the hour was seen coming a mile away, as the stragglers from Wembley arrived along with a few home fans who'd paid well over the odds to get in our end - and meet with universal disapproval.

The three late goals spoiled what was already spoilt, but not our spirit in the seats. We might be down, we might be out, but we're still the Sunderland boot boys. And we are mental. And we are mad. And we'll be back next season.

When asked if price tag would be in the region of £30million, Moyes replied: "Yes."

For a full Chelsea match report Click Here

Fan Letters Click Here

Finally, if you’re on Facebook click here to like us. Thanks…

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

 

 

On the Buses…
als info

ALS run coaches to every away game that Sunderland AFC play from our base opposite the Stadium of Light, click here for a full info, prices and ways to book...

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...

 

 

ALS shop opening times...
we never close

Our trading hours are as follows: Monday-Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm all year round. On weekend matchdays we open five hours before the match starts and close at kick off. We are also open for 30 mins after the match finishes. For midweek home games, we open at 9.30am and close at kick off. Please feel free to call 0191 565 4422, pop into our shop, or click here to go straight to our on-line shop and peruse our wares.

ALS Away Game Travel
ALS T Shirts Offers...
Super Saver Sub: Avoid ALS Price Increase & Save £37...