FORMER players, fans and pundits today backed the decision to sack Steve Bruce and say the time is right to bring in a new manager ahead of the January transfer window.
Commentators say the Black Cats have two “winnable” games ahead of them in the fixtures list, and Bruce’s replacement will be able to hit the ground running – providing the club makes the right choice.
Micky Horswill, a member of Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup-winning team and presenter on Real Radio’s Legends programme, said Bruce simply had not been coming up with the goods.
“It’s not surprising. In this game you’re judged by your results. It doesn’t matter if you’re a nice person, or you’ve got a good reputation as a player or a manager, or whatever,” he said.
“None of that is taken into consideration if you’re not getting the results. Sunderland have certainly been struggling all season and 11 points out of 13 games is just not good enough.”
The 58-year-old former midfielder also questioned chairman Ellis Short’s knowledge of the Premiership and ability to pick the right man for the job.
“He doesn’t know people like Mark Hughes. How can he pick the right man? He’ll still be reliant on Niall Quinn to bring the right man in,” he said.
Horswill said he’d like to see Everton manager David Moyes take over.
“He’d be a great choice if you could persuade him away from Everton, and give him enough money to buy three or four players,” he said.
“We’ve got to get results. We’ve won three times this year. That’s just not good enough for Sunderland.”
Martyn McFadden (pictured), editor of Sunderland fanzine A Love Supreme, said it was no secret the writing was on the wall for Bruce.
“I felt after Saturday it was pretty inevitable that he was going to go. Three home wins in 2011 speak for themselves – we’re into December now, and you really can’t get away with that,” he said.
“I don’t think anybody’s been enjoying going to the match. It’s been a dire experience.”
Mr McFadden said the top choice for new Sunderland manager had to be Martin O’Neill – and this time Sunderland had a chance to actually sign the manager, who has often been cited as a potential boss for the Black Cats.
He said Mark Hughes was also “worth looking at”.
He added that regardless of who was next manager, now was the right time to ditch Bruce and start the hunt for a new boss.
McFadden said the new boss would take over just in time for the transfer window and had the chance to make Sunderland their own team quickly.
Famously outspoken fan Gary Lamb, 52, from Seaham, said Bruce’s departure couldn’t have come too soon.
“Good riddance to bad rubbish,” he said.
Gary said he had been greatly disappointed with the team given the amount of money Bruce had spent.
Gary said he wanted to see one of three managers take over from Steve Bruce – one was Martin O’Neill.
“The other two would be Carlo Ancelotti and Guus Hiddink – now there’s a man who’s won everything,” he said.