David Preece: Let down by Advocaat, my three to consider for Sunderland hotseat

Paul Bracewell

Paul Bracewell

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I’m sorry, but I’m finding this all a tad tedious right now.

Aren’t you?

I never quite understand why clubs allow managers to leave until they have a ready-made replacement lined-up to step in.

The unpredictability at the Stadium of Light has become oh, so predictable to the point where the news of Dick Advocaat’s resignation wasn’t in the least a bit surprising.

Just as the jettisoning of his coaching staff signalled the beginning of the end for Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, the writing had been on the wall for Advocaat since the words “crisis” and “meeting” were uttered merely three games in to the season.

Looking back, it was always going to end this way but if we’re looking for people to blame, we don’t have to look very far at all.

We can point the finger of blame elsewhere if we want, but there’ll always be three pointing back at us if we do.

We are the kids whose parents stayed together just to keep us happy, even though they knew, in their heart of hearts, it was only a temporary arrangement until Dad found somewhere permanent to live.

Dick Advocaat’s change of heart was for all of the wrong reasons, he let his heart rule his head, accepting the role in full knowledge it was a short-term arrangement, never going to last.

Emotionally blackmailed into submission, what we got was a manager who actually didn’t want to be in the job.

Give praise for the way he handled his exit without the need for haggling over any financial settlements if you must, but perhaps we’re the ones who are deserving of the compensation. The two grand for the flowers would be a start!

I guess if you think you aren’t up to the job it’s best to step aside but I can’t help but feel a little let down by the way Advocaat as conceded defeat so easily.

Amongst footballers more than most, there’s a culture of “The King is dead. Long live the King!” as football moves swiftly on without remorse or a second thought, but if I was one of the new signings who joined the club under the assumption they were going to play under the someone with a track record like Advocaat’s, I’d feel somewhat cheated right now.

After all, wasn’t that one of the reason’s why we were so desperate to keep him here? Wasn’t he supposed to be the kind of manager who would attract the calibre of player Poyet and Di Canio failed to do?

Moreover, wasn’t Dick supposed to be the calibre of coach who could bring together a ramshackle squad of players and arrange them to win games like he did last season?

If anything, that has been the biggest failing of all. Being let down over potential signings is one thing, but if your squad still isn’t deemed any better four months after declaring it’s deficiencies, why change from the same tactics that brought the relative success in surviving the previous year?

Despite my years involved in the game, I never quite understand why clubs allow managers to leave until they have a ready-made replacement lined-up to step in.

Especially, as is the case here, where the manager has walked of his own free will.

Even when clubs decide enough is enough and fire their manager, the ensuing period of insecurity in the time taken to recruit a new one is of no help to anyone except those of us who fill column inches with speculation and rumour.

I’ve never bought into the opinion that clubs actively sounding out potential replacements whilst they still have a manager in place are being devious or disloyal.

It seems like sound business sense to me. Those two weeks where everyone’s future is up in the air might be difference between success and failure and whilst Sunderland have the cushion of an international break, it’s still an opportunity wasted for a new man to get his feet under the table, ready for West Brom.

Despite the way things have gone, surely it’s better to hold the ship steady with a definitive figurehead than leave it rudderless?

After deciding to renege on the contractual obligations to the club during the summer, you’d think another week or two wouldn’t make much difference to Advocaat.

That said, perhaps the answer to the problem is already in place in the form of Paul Bracewell.

I’ve not heard anyone mention his name as a possible candidate for the job but why not? Since the departure of Roy Keane, Sunderland have appointed experience in the form of Steve Bruce, Martin O’Neill and Advocaat, and gone for the more youthful verve of Di Canio and Gus Poyet, yet all of their win percentages fall well short of the 38-40 per cent win rate needed to give any sense of a successful season.

In my head, there are three choices and I can honestly say Brace would be one of them.

When he arrived back at Sunderland under Peter Reid, he already had the air of a authority about him that marked him out as future management material. It did to me anyway.

I loved him as a player but he was the type of character who went about things in a way which immediately commanded respect, and respect him I certainly did. Which makes it all the more surprising to me that his short managerial stints at Fulham and Halifax are the only ones on his CV.

Ask me to deliver my ideal manager and out of pure love I’d give you Michael Laudrup.

Give me a second, more realistic choice, then I’d go for Sam Allardyce; pragmatic not pretty but at least we’d know exactly what we were getting and know who we were as a team. The minimum requirement should be a manager who doesn’t need his arm twisted to take the job. That would be a start.

I always adhered to the notion that one of the reasons I loved Sunderland was the fact that it was never boring, that they always gave you a reason for adrenalin to be pumped through your veins.

Whether it be promotions, Wembley appearances or relegations, as long as you were a Sunderland fan, you always knew what it was to feel alive.

Maybe this is my age talking and a more a reflection of myself but I’d give anything for a quiet life at the minute, at least for a little while.

I guess that’s what we thought we were getting with Dick, a year of stability, a chance to draw breath, some respite from the nerves, a year wearing slippers instead of tottering around in six inch heels.

Ah, well. Here we go again.