MORE than three quarters of Sunderland fans agreed with the original decision to appoint Gus Poyet as Paolo Di Canio’s replacement as head coach last season..
And the results of our Big Sunderland Survey show that by the end of the campaign the Uruguayan had only enhanced his reputation further after keeping the club in the Premier League.
There was a danger that many fans would have seen Poyet’s appointment back in October as the replacement of one excitable, passionate foreign manager with another.
But it seems that Sunderland supporters saw that the Uruguayan was different from Paolo Di Canio from the outset.
Well over 75 per cent of fans in our survey said they were happy to see the former Brighton manager take charge at the Stadium of Light.
And his ratings among supporters at the end of the season only bore out how thrilled they were by the Great Escape which saw Sunderland remain in the Premier League against all odds.
Asked to rate his efforts out of 10, less than two per cent gave him marks lower than five.
Almost 60 per cent of fans scored him in the seven-eight range while more than 20 per cent of supporters marked him between nine and 10.
Among his harshest critics were David Morris of Manchester who said: “He looks like a short-term fix.
“Gus needs more passion and better tactics: Fact,”
And Peter Minchell of Dorset added: “A lot of mistakes in team selection, tactics and signings but possibly a ‘lucky’ manager, which counts for much.
“Lucky to have Wes Brown fit for so much of the campaign, lucky to have run out of options and be forced to play Connor Wickham, lucky to see Wickham hit a goal-scoring purple patch which saved our season.”
Alice Orr of Birtley scored him 10 and said: “He has been very good for us - got us to our first cup final in a long time; we beat the likes of Chelsea and Everton away, took six points off the Mags and four points off the champions. On top of that he has made the greatest of all great escapes.”
John Capeling of Bedford was another who awarded the maximum, saying: “I don’t really like 10 out of 10 but the state we were in when he arrived and where we are now, merits full score.”
YOUR COMMENTS ON GUS POYET’S PERFORMANCE IN THE 2013-14 SEASON:
“Love Gus, man,” Carolyn McKenzie, Sunderland.
“It took a special person to manage Sunderland’s shortcomings this season, and he did it perfectly,” Alan Hull, Millfield.
“He had a wobble with team selection and comments during our five game slump but overall his tactics and style of football bodes well for the future,” Gordon Savage, Derby.
“We need to see if he can perform in the transfer market and whether he can bring our own youngsters on,” Peter Davison, Deal, Kent.
“Did extremely well considering the squad he inherited,” James Blunt, Shiney Row.
“Love the passing style but the jury’s still out on the signings,” Barry Holyoak, Washington.
“He has got Sunderland to a cup final and out of trouble by playing football, not just defending and hoping for a breakaway goal,” Ken Allan, Ushaw Moor, Durham.
“He has been outstanding – his hiccup in the FA Cup quarter-final being the only blip on what hopefully will be a long reign,” Jonathan Ward, Sunderland.
“Still learning in the Premier League but seems to learn quickly – a few mistakes in team selection,” Keith Scott, Chester-le-Street.
“He has done well but his biggest battle may yet be to come – getting funds from Short and bringing in the best players available so we aren’t in a constant relegation battle year after year,” Ian Routledge, Durham.