FANS on the streets of Sunderland were split after the Black Cats took the decision to sack head coach Gus Poyet.
The Uruguayan was dismissed in the wake of Saturday’s humiliating 4-0 loss to Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light, which left the club hovering just above the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Poyet’s replacement will be left with nine games to keep Sunderland in the top flight, and West Ham boss Sam Allardyce was mooted by some supporters as a potential candidate.
Former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat is thought to be the club’s preferred choice to take over until the end of the season, but supporters have bemoaned a lack of options.
Andy Hamilton, 77, from Leechmore Road, Grangetown, Sunderland, felt it was the right time for Poyet to depart.
He said: “Poyet seemed to be at the end of his tether, and it couldn’t go on much longer.
“He didn’t seem to have the enthusiasm for the job, so it was the right time for him to leave.
“I think the favourite to take the job long-term at first was Sam Allardyce.
“I can’t think of anyone else really, so why not give Sam a go? He’s a whole-hearted fella.”
Brian Mason, 44, from Benedict Court, Sunderland, was of a similar view, and said: “I think it was the right time for him to go.
“We had been patient enough with him, but he wasn’t motivating the players, and there’s nothing there.
“My choice to replace him long-term would be Sam Allardyce, but I don’t know if he’s settled at West Ham.
“I’d like a manager like that, who could motivate the team, because there’s nothing there at the moment.”
Ramez Anz, 26, from Argyle Square, Sunderland, added: “It really sucks – it has gone from bad to worse for Sunderland.
“It’s really bad and I think Poyet had to go. I haven’t really thought about who should replace him, as there aren’t many available managers out there.”
However, others felt Poyet had been left with a thankless task due to a “problem” within the club – with legendary former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson described as the only man who could truly take Sunderland forward.
John Woodward, 59, from Portrush Road, Sunderland, said: “I think this is typical of Sunderland.
“There’s a problem in the club and you can’t keep blaming the managers for it, as bad as Poyet was doing. There’s a problem with the whole club.
“The ideal manager would probably be Sir Alex Ferguson, but obviously that’s not a realistic option.
“The problem Sunderland will have is that it will be hard to convince someone to come in at this stage of the season.
“Poyet did a fantastic job last season, but the players don’t seem to perform for the manager.”
Others also had sympathy for Poyet, who led Sunderland to three successive derby victories over Newcastle United and took them to last season’s League Cup final.
Chris Cartridge, 29, from Gragareth Way, Washington, said: “I personally don’t think he should have gone.
“I don’t think he was given enough time to prove himself, and too much pressure is being put on managers at the moment.
“I think a lot more needs to be put on the players, because they are the ones kicking the ball on the pitch.
“There’s no-one that stands out for me as a replacement at the moment.”
Charu Gosai, 59, from Dovedale Road, Sunderland, added: “I don’t think they should have sacked Gus Poyet.
“I don’t like to see anyone lose their job, and I have no idea who they can give the head coach job to now.”
One supporter, meanwhile, had a simple message to owner Ellis Short if he wants to take the club forward – spend money, and lots of it.
Anthony Lawrence, 70, from Peebles Road, Sunderland, said: “I can only say one word about the team’s form recently ... terrible.
“I couldn’t even think of a manager to replace him, and I’ve just read about the names in the frame.
“No managers stand out to me, unless they can spend about £150million or £200million. They need a new team.”