Fans question future leadership of Sunderland in aftermath of relegation

What lies ahead for the Stadium of Light, its players and manager?
What lies ahead for the Stadium of Light, its players and manager?
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Disastrous recruitment of players, David Moyes’ management and long-term management issues within the club - these are just a few of the reasons fans say Sunderland’s failure this season was inevitable.

Long-term supporters have been voicing their views after the side were relegated after a shocking season of performances, with questions raised about why players have not been coming through the ranks, signings made and whether David Moyes is up to the job to oversee the fight back into the Premier League.

Ken Barker of the SAFC Senior Supporters Association.

Ken Barker of the SAFC Senior Supporters Association.

But there is hope time in the Championship will bring stability and see the club work on bringing in players hungry for a chance to win promotion and prove their worth.

Ken Barker is chairman of SAFC Senior Supporters’ Association, which is due to meet with Martin Bain, the club’s chief executive, on Tuesday in a rescheduled question and answer session.

Ken, a referee of 51 years experience, said: “I’m sure I speak for members of the association whether David Moyes is the right man to bring us back up and as far as I’m concerned, the jury is out.

“I’m just not sure, he didn’t do anything at Manchester United, or Real Sociedad, but that said he did have some real successes with Everton.

But in terms of what happens next, I think we need some spice in the team, a manager who looks like he wants to be here, one that we can get behind.

Rory Fallow

“David Moyes is unfortunately suffering from several years of disastrous recruitment, some players have been bought for millions of pounds and have been no better that the lads who are coming through the academy.

“It’s frustrating, that’s the word.

“The wrong people have been in the wrong place and the wrong time.

“There’s been a problem at the top of the club.

Fans' museum founder Michael Ganley.

Fans' museum founder Michael Ganley.

“The infrastructure is there for a club that should be in the top half of the Premier League, they have the facilities and they’re superb, but I feel we need some proper leadership.

“Some would like to see Moyes be given a chance, but are not sure about his backroom staff.

“We need to sort out the recruitment department.

“Why are we paying £5million for academy players from Manchester United with Paddy McNair and Donald Glover, which are players that both have potential, and yet we have an academy of our own.

“We’ve seen Jordan Pickford, Jordan Henderson and Martyn Waghorn come through already.”

Michael Ganley is heading up plans to transport Monkwearmouth Station Museum into a fans museum for followers of the club.

He said: “The running of the club has been to its detriment.

“We have got some good players, but then there are people who work 9 to 5, who work for the club - are they fans or just employees?

“Over the last seven seasons we’ve seen a reduction in man management in the structure of the club and now it’s caught up with them.

“We’ve seen what happened around Adam Johnson for example, we’ve haemorrhaged a considerable amount of money, we’ve had all these contributing factors and it’s pretty embarrassing.

“The club is in a transitional period now, and the fact is simply that the club could be sold and we know that nothing can be achieved until someone else comes in.

“This has been coming to Sunderland, we’ve had five great escapes.

“But I think Martin Bain is taking things in the right direction, he’s got a good pedigree and I don’t think he suffers fools.

“There have been redundancies but we don’t know where.

“The club needs to tell the fans what’s going on, the communication is really weak.

“They should have a fans’ poll to find out what they think.”

Malcolm Bramley, 70, has been a fan since he was five-years-old and sits in the Premier Concourse with his son Paul, 35, and grandson Alex, six, and will be joined by graddaughter Abigail, nine, next season.

He started with SAFC as an office boy in 1962 and became its assistant secretary in 1962, then went to work for Derby County when Brian Clough was in charge and also worked at Gillingham with Len Ashurst.

He said: “Relegation was inevitable really, but now we have to look to the future.

“I think the key feature has been the recruitment of players over the last five seasons because for whatever reason, we haven’t got that right.

“That is now going to be crucial.

“Proper fans will support them whatever league they’re in and that should go for the manager, owner and chief executive.

“The fans are the lifeblood of the club and I think there’s been huge disappointment and anger, but I think if they recruit right, we will be back.

“I think we should looking around for keen, hungry British players who have been successful in the Championship or looking to prove themselves and play in the Premier League.”

Rory Fallow is an editor with the Roker Report and also appears on the Wise Men Say podcast.

“It’s not surprising, but I’ve been trying to write something for the Roker Report for the best part of an hour now, and I can’t come up with anything,” he said.

“It just doesn’t feel like there’s anything to say.

“I think we accepted our fate back in October, that it was going to be like this.
“But in terms of what happens next, I think we need some spice in the team, a manager who looks like he wants to be here, one that we can get behind.

“It’s just so unbelievable, and yet it’s been so predictable.

“I don’t feel angry, but I don’t feel happy about it either.

“Now it will be interesting to see what happens, because Martin Bain has admitted that Moyes has got the job, even if we went down, and we can’t just keep sacking managers, but we have to look to the long term, is he the wrong man.

“Look at Hull, who have perhaps been in a bigger mess with its boardroom, but since Marco Silva has come in, has a one point lead on Sunderland.

“It’s awful and I think there needs to be change and I don’t think Moyes is up for the job.

“Just looking at his body language and he was asked by the BBC if he would be here next season, and he couldn’t even look at the reporter in the eye.”