Who cares about ugly football if Sam Allardyce keeps Sunderland up?

A Sunderland fan celebrates in the crowd after the win against Palace

A Sunderland fan celebrates in the crowd after the win against Palace

17
Have your say

Winning ugly, parking the bus or as I believe Jose Mourinho once called it ‘19th century football’.

Whatever you want to call it, you can bet it won’t be pretty.

But does that really matter?

In an ideal world, maybe Sunderland would be blessed with players capable of taking tiki-taka to a whole new level.

But for red and white fans, the ideal world and the real world are usually very different things.

I’m no football purist or football snob, but I have to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of Big Sam or his perceived brand of football.

But I think I might be changing my tune.

To use another old cliché it’s about horses for courses for the Black Cats now.

Previous Sunderland bosses have arrived on Wearside with their own football philosophies.

And while they have come, seen and had limited success – managing to beat the dreaded drop – they have never managed to stamp their own brand on to the team for a sustained period.

The managerial merry go round which has blighted Sunderland over far too many seasons has meant that, by and large (trip to Wembley and derby wins aside), the only thing for fans to look forward to has been the monotonous and annual relegation battles.

Sadly, that isn’t going to change in the short term, with the Black Cats in yet another scrap for survival this season.

But to get back to those various football philosophies – while you could sit for hours, or even days, and pick the bones out of the positives and negatives of each one – there has been one common denominator throughout the whole sorry sagas.

And that is the players.

Perhaps Martin O’Neill’s game plan was a bit one dimensional, maybe Steve Bruce’s inability to replace two top strikers was a major factor in his downfall. And Paolo Di Canio’s dictatorial style may have been too much for the players to stomach.

I could go on.

But could it be that one of the major overriding factors is that there hasn’t been enough quality to cope with adapting to these various game plans?

That may be a simplistic view, but keeping it simple paid off down at Crystal Palace.

Allardyce came out after the game and admitted that Sunderland weren’t good enough to take the game to the Eagles, and that his side were likely to keep on parking that big old bus.

For some that may seem a little defeatist or pessimistic, but for me it seems realistic.

Maybe by realising the limitations and weaknesses of his squad, Big Sam is going to find the best fit for his team.

If that fit is winning ugly then so be it.

It may not be pretty, it may not please the football purists, but why should we give them lip service?

If it keeps Sunderland up this season, isn’t that all we can real ask for in our current predicament?

And who knows, if we can survive yet another battle against the drop, maybe we can dare to dream of something better around the corner.

The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Dick Advocaat. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes