OUR fans are always quick to throw names around when we’re looking for a new manager.
So far, I’ve heard suggestions ranging from David Moyes to Peter Reid, and a few calls to bring Kevin Ball back for a third spell. Yet, bizarrely, the idea of going with a “dinosaur” like Sam Allardyce is unthinkable to some.
Sam Allardyce, for all his doubters, has a pretty good track record with teams like ours
I think it’s the long ball tactics, or maybe his brief and unsuccessful spell at Newcastle, making fans sceptical about appointing Big Sam in the summer.
But, for me, he is exactly the type of manager Sunderland need going into next season.
Maybe not want, but certainly need.
Gus Poyet’s unique selling point was that he was supposed to be the man to finally introduce the club to an attractive style of play. After all, it worked for him at Brighton, so surely he could have the same effect here?
But if there’s one thing we need to learn from Poyet’s spell, it’s that you can’t play beautiful football when you’re in a relegation scrap.
Certainly not with the players Gus had at his disposal.
I have no doubt that we could have won more points trying to “win dirty” than we’ve managed by trying to play attractive football this season.
Changing the club’s style to that extent was always going to be a risk, so it makes sense to make sure we achieve a comfortable position in the league before ripping up the tactics and starting again.
Sam Allardyce, for all his doubters, has a pretty good track record with teams like ours.
His sides are strong, organised, and, crucially, they can grind out results.
It isn’t pretty, but it’s effective, and effective is exactly what Sunderland need right now.
There’s no doubt we’re currently in a transitional period, with the director of football system still too fresh to have had any lasting effect on the club.
I certainly agree with the principle that things need to be changed, but it’s all about evolution, not revolution.
We can’t progress as a club if we’re battling relegation year after year.
If playing unattractive football will give us a few seasons of comfort in the Premier League, then it’s a no-brainer.
Allardyce is the man.
I’ll accept that hiring him wouldn’t match Sunderland’s long-term plans, but, equally, this wouldn’t be a long-term appointment.
A young manager like Paul Clement, who has attracted many admirers during his time coaching with Real Madrid and PSG, could potentially be a masterstroke.
But, with the club’s future in the league uncertain, he would be a very risky appointment.
Is it really worth it?
In my time supporting the club, I’ve found that the thought of Championship football is scariest when you’re staring relegation in the face.
The long-term vision of the club is important, but Premier League survival is absolutely essential.
In order to build, we need a solid platform, and I’m confident Sam Allardyce can provide it.
The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Gus Poyet. You can be stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes.