Sunderland AFC

Finally down and out, The 2016/17 season has proved one step too far for Sunderland AFC. Having flirted with relegation for the previous four seasons they have finally succumbed to the dreaded drop.

The parachute payments will pale into insignificance once the fixtures are released in a few weeks’ time for the season ahead. The additional 8 games a season, more midweek fixtures and trips to Burton Albion and Bristol City will hit home hard at The Stadium of Light.

Ever since owner Ellis Short arrived in the North East in 2008 it’s been bad decision after bad decision. 7 permanent managers have come and gone with Short currently on his 9th in David Moyes, someone whom he has made no secret of his admiration for… Moyes has finally been the man to oversee a long overdue relegation.

david-moyes-sunderland

Calamitous spells in charge from the likes of Ricky Sbragia and Paulo Di Canio have not aided the former Man Utd Manager’s cause but this was not the right job for him to step into, he was defeated and downbeat from the off. In fact in the near 10 years in which the club has been under American ownership, the highest win % of any of the gaffers has been a miserable 35.2% under Martin O’Neill, The Irishman lost equally as many games as he won.

So what now for The Mackems?

Just have a look at their squad, terrible and without serious overhaul they could be destined for League One sooner than a Premier League return.

We’ll start with the seemingly obvious, Defoe will go (on a free!! Who’s idea was it to insert that clause into his contract?!) and Pickford will surely look to add to a rapidly increasing reputation with a move to a club in the top flight.

The Rest?

A dressing room full of failed potential and players long past their sell by dates. Jack Rodwell, Darren Gibson, Joleon Lescott, Victor Anichebe, Steven Pienaar, John O’Shea and Seb Larsson are all part of one of the most poorly assembled squads in recent Premier League history.

The Manager?

There are already chants of “Moyes out” from the stands and with an ever diminishing reputation you have to wonder what is going through the Scotsman’s mind as he enters the summer break. He has Championship experience but that was a long time ago, the league has since changed and Sunderland will hardly be favourites for the division with the likes of Aston Villa, Hull and Fulham looking a lot better placed for promotion.

The Boardroom?

You only have to look at recent seasons and you’ll see that there will be very little in terms of funds made available. The Black Cats generally spend what they recoup but with years of the insane Premier League money behind them it’s hard to fathom just where the £100’s Millions are going year on year, or is it?

Sunderland are reported to have the 14th highest wage bill in EUROPE! What?!? One thing is for sure and that is that they have very little in terms of saleable assets to provide funds to buy the relevant personnel that will understand the rough and tumble of championship football.

The side from Wearside need a complete club overhaul to have any chance of returning to the Premier League anytime in the near future. In their current state you have to envisage a mid-table Championship season is the best they can hope for.

We all know the North East of England is a hot bed for football, the fans are extremely passionate with generally very little return from their heroes on the pitch. Big rivals Newcastle have been able to bounce straight back but unless Rafa’s boys implode once more and find themselves in a relegation battle, we wouldn’t expect to have any fierce local derbies in the coming seasons Sunderland fans.

They deserve better than what they’ve recently had to endure.

Sunderland-fans

David Moyes image sourced from; www.skysports.com
Sunderland fans image sourced from; www.chroniclelive.co.uk

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England Manager – The FA have chosen

Precisely 25 days since Roy Hodgson sat in a post match press conference telling all of Europe that his time was up as manager of the England team, they have found his successor.

Just over 3 weeks since FA CEO Martin Glenn told everyone “we’re going to harness opinion and wisdom from the wider part of the game, it’s really important that we get this right. It’s really that we get England into a situation where we can build on the strength that we’ve got. I think we’ve got a lot of strength in this squad and taking it forward with the view to the World Cup in Russia. It’s important that we make the right decisions. So we will be canvassing opinions from former managers, current managers, clubs and players to make sure we get wisdom on to this area” to name their man.

It taken less than a month of “looking abroad”, “looking for the best person for the job” and “not ruling out a foreign manager.” To get as far as Sunderland…and appoint Sam Allardyce.

Mr Glenn himself has declared that he is “not a football expert” and whilst that is acceptable he is clearly attempting to rid himself of full responsibility if this goes wrong.

Sam-Allardyce-Image

Now it’s is obviously difficult to predict just how Big Sam will fare in the Wembley hot seat but it is at this stage easy to cast our opinion.

England have settled for what was available at the level they are currently operating on and off the pitch, mediocrity!

Having a look at the positives:-

  • Yes, England will be a more organised unit
  • Yes, England will be harder to beat
  • Yes, he may actually have the bravery to drop under performers not matter which club they play for
  • Yes, he may pick players that suit him and not sponsors or reputations (James Tomkins anyone?)
  • Yes, you would imagine “yes” is not a word he will utter to the top brass at the FA’s every request

Surely though…these are the basics of football management?

Is he even qualified for the job of National Manger?

  • No major trophy win
  • No trophy win since 97-98 (3rd division title)
  • A mere 33.6 PL win %
  • A total of 5 games managed against European opposition (1 win)

England’s failing have been in the cup competitions, they qualify relatively unchallenged from the seeded groups pre any major tournament. You just have to look at the 100% record pre France.

Taking a look at Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham under Allardyce’s command in the last 10 years hardly provides optimism.

Other than 2 League Cup Semi Final appearances where his sides have conceded a bucket load, he is a 3rd round exit specialist, bear in mind that most of these clubs would have entered at this stage and you have a manager who struggles to navigate through knockout football.

Club

Season League Cup FA Cup

Bolton

2006-07 3rd Round

4th Round

Newcastle United

2007-08 3rd Round

3rd Round

Blackburn Rovers

2008-09

N/A

5th Round

2009-10

Semi Final

3rd Round

SF – Conceded 7 to Villa over 2 legs

2010-11

3rd Round

N/A

West Ham

2011-12 1st Round

3rd Round

2012-13

3rd Round

3rd Round

2013-14

Semi Final

3rd Round

SF -Conceded 9 to City over 2 legs

2014-15

3rd Round

5th Round

Sunderland

2015-16

3rd Round

3rd Round

Manchester-City-Semi-Final-Image

Sam Allardyce it has to be said, is a fire fighter and perhaps that is just what the FA need to extinguish the flames created by a group of over-paid, under-performing multi-millionaires at Euro 2016.

There will be a good indication of his credentials very early on in his reign. England are arguably in their toughest qualifying group for a number of years with Slovakia, Slovenian and Auld Enemy Scotland to contend with.

However much the majority of the media dress this up as a fantastic appointment i.e. “how it’s just what England need” and with the  backing from the likes of Sir Alex and Jose etc etc. But let’s be honest…

IT’S ONLY SAM ALLARDYCE!

Sam Allardyce image sourced from; www.thetelegraph.co.uk
Manchester City Club Semi Final image sourced from www.thetelegraph.co.uk

The January Transfer Window – Who Needs What?

The festive season has come and gone, we’ve eaten and drank our weight multiple times over and December coming to an end means one thing…..the January transfer window is now OPEN!

So with that in mind, we are going to take a look at teams from various leagues and in various predicaments.

transfer-centre-transfer-window-generic

We are going to summarise what they need and who they need to hold onto in order to prolong, challenge for honours or in some cases save their 2015-16 season.

Man Utd
Where to start with the world famous Red Devils?!

LVG has already spent over £250Mil and achieved no more than the sacked Scot David Moyes. I would question the Old Trafford’s board decision to give him much more money, but they do need at least 1 position filled.

The post Fergie era has been slightly worse than expected but transition was inevitable, Champions League qualification is the minimum but even that is in danger.

Cole, Yorke, Sheringham, Van Nistelrooy….where is United’s lethal feared finisher?

What do they need -A proven striker is a must, Higuain or Zlatan could be achievable.

Higuain-Image

Aberdeen
There may well just be a sustained title challenge to Celtic this year.

Aberdeen will stutter and drop points that the Glasgow giants won’t, however we are in January and they are only 3 points behind.

Derek McInnes will be a wanted man come the end of the season for sure so this could be a big few months for the former Rangers man.

They are too reliant on a couple of players (like most SPL clubs) but need to add a touch more quality to pull away from the rest and closer to the top.

What do they need – A back up striker to take the pressure from Adam Rooney.
Who can’t they afford to lose – Niall McGinn.

Sheff Wed
One of the “big” clubs still plying their trade in the 2nd tier, this season however is looking different for the Owls.

Currently one place outside the play offs they have a real chance of being in the end of season shake up to return to the bright lights of the Premier League.

Carlos Carvalhal’s men are strong in certain areas of the park but are missing a bit of squad depth for the final few weeks of the season.

They could do with adding 3-4 players, if they can find the right ones to add to the underappreciated players they currently have in the side.

Ashley Westwood, Michael Turner, Sam Hutchinson & Fernando Forestieri provide a fantastic spine for a team at this level.

What do they need – A creative / goalscoring midfielder such as Alan Judge at Brentford.
– A winger to provide needed width
– Centre half cover

Sunderland

The Black Cats are more than likely in a “sell before you buy” situation.

They have a lot of squad players picking up good money who have been purchased by many previous bosses. This is a club who pays Patrick Van Aanholt to play football!

Looking at the players available Sunderland do have a decent Premier League forward line. Defoe, Fletcher and Borini should score enough to win the club points when they are needed. It’s the other areas of the pitch that are the problem.

I can see the likes of Danny Graham, Adam Matthews and Will Buckley heading for the exit door.

One thing is for sure though, Big Sam will bring in trusted and experienced players in order to help beat the drop.

What do they need – A good centre half (O’Shea, Brown,Coates and Kaboul provide poor options)
– Full back cover left and right
-A winger to put the ball in the box

Who can’t they afford to lose – Jermain Defoe for goals and Lee Cattermole due to suspension!

James Tomkins is someone Big Sam would trust and could sign.James-Tomkins

Coventry City

Finally the Sky Blues appear to be on the right track back up the leagues. After being relegated to League One in 2012 they have a serious chance of promotion back to the Championship, a level at which a club of this stature should be operating.

Tony Mowbray has done a great job since taking over in March 2015, Keeping them up before taking them into the play off places.

Youth mixed with experience is a great balance at this level and they have that in abundance at the Ricoh Arena.

What do they need – A striker to share the responsibility with Adam Armstrong
– A permanent deal for Joe Cole, amazing player to have in the dressing room

Who can’t they afford to lose – Adam Armstrong, 16 goals in 22 games speaks for itself

Cases could have been made for Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Crewe Alexandra and Dundee United however I’m afraid all of your seasons look to be beyond salvation.

Whatever happens we are sure to see records broken, last minute deals and panic buys between now and 11pm on February 1st.

We all love it really.

Transfer Window Image Sourced From; www.skysports.com
Higuain & Ibrahimovic Image Sourced From; www.gettyimages.com
James Tomkins Image Sourced From; www.express.co.uk/sport