With all the speculation surrounding the appointment of a new manager, let’s just take a moment to review just how Stuart Donald and Co had to make this decision.
Firstly, Jack Ross is due a huge thank you for stabilising the club and mounting a promotion challenge by drawing together a hastily assembled squad (it would have been a challenge for any experienced manager never mind a one from a different country).
There're may be those outside the club who question the decision to sack Ross who had a 50% win record and lost only seven league games. This however does not tell the whole story. Of those wins, how many were achieved by a comfortable margin? Answer not many.
Last season Sunderland managed to squander 20 points from winning positions and yes I know the other side of that is that we managed to draw ten games from losing positions but let’s face it this is Third Division Football and whichever way you dress it up , that's just not good enough .
Next, tactics. I'm going to be brutal here. I've watched enough of Sunderland this season and last and the games seem to follow a similar pattern. We start off well in an ordered fashion and then things seem to degenerate (irrespective of the score) into a mess in which we are either chasing the game or hanging on for a result. We just don't have a clear plan A and no plan B. Again, not good enough.
Players. Let’s face it our squad is made up of players who have or should be playing Third Division Football. Yes, some of them possibly belong a rung higher and may indeed make it there. Some have obvious potential to go even further. Here's the point: At a level of football it's best practice to play your players in their best positions.
If there's been one glaring error that Ross should have taken care of it was his mis management of Luke O'Nien. Luke O is not a right back. He's ended up playing there because he's mobile and gets up and down the wing. He's not a natural defender so at best he stands his opponent up. What Sunderland missed last season was an attacking half midfielder to give and go, arrive late in the box and weigh in with goals and assists (Third Division Dele Alli ).
Next. We need to get promoted this season. (Obviously I hear you say) …
My suggestion as manager: Nigel Adkins. Took Scunthorpe up to The Championship but was relegated the following season. Took them back up and stayed up the next season before taking Southampton from the third tier to The Premier League in successive seasons.
Had six months at Reading and a season at Sheffield United without doing much but stabilised Hull City in the last season and a half before leaving them last June .He's probably waiting for a Championship job (Barnsley perhaps) but surely we're a better long term project than most second tier clubs .
Keep the faith
Once again Paul Lambert has taken it upon himself to criticise Sunderland for the sacking of a manager. He says the treatment of Jack Ross was harsh, not long ago he also went to press about the sacking of Martin O’Neill.
He does not like the way our club gets rid of managers and he's not shy about telling people what he thinks. Here's what I think, Paul Lambert has never had anything to do with SAFC, neither as a player or as a member of the backroom staff. What right has he even to comment?
He's failed at a number of jobs he's had especially at Stoke and I don't think many Aston Villa fans were sad to see the back of him. He's hardly a Ferguson of Wenga is he? He would be far better looking after his own club and spending his time sorting them out than digging at Sunderland.
The only saving grace is that he'll hopefully never darken the doors at the SOL. Sacking managers has become part of the Sunderland DNA over the past 20 years, the fans are used to it and some actually enjoy seeing it happen, not me though. We do need to stabilise and get someone in who's not a seven day wonder, someone who has structure and nouse, someone with vision, anyone out there like that?
Never a dull moment.
Pete L Mansfield Mackem