After fan jeers, how does David Moyes’ Sunderland record and the mood on Wearside compare to his predecessors?

Former Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill.
Former Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill.
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The refrain for most of the campaign has been that Sunderland have had too many good managers pass through the doors and fail.

The refrain for most of the campaign has been that Sunderland have had too many good managers pass through the doors and fail.

Sunderland manager David Moyes.

Sunderland manager David Moyes.

The problems, therefore, are structural.

It is largely true. Ultimately, all seven permanent managers of the modern Premier League era have been undone by poor recruitment, particularly in the latter period when the club meddled with a Director of Football system that, Jermain Defoe aside, yielded few positive results.

This season, however, has clearly been particularly brutal, and with no sign of a late season lift.

So how does David Moyes compare to his predecessors? It is a complex picture, but looking at win records and the general mood offers some illumination. In descending order...



Sunderland have perhaps never had a better period in their Premier League era than the first months of his reign, when any team were beatable and anything was possible.

Niall Quinn’s departure started a slow and painful decline, that first summer also saw O’Neill fail to bring in the firepower up front and out wide to make his famous counter-attacking style work.

The football from there on in was tepid, and off the pitch the ground was being prepared for De Fanti and Di Canio’s troubled tenure.

O’Neill should have been the answer, an ambassador for Sunderland’s best qualities, but it never materialised.

His win record, nevertheless, is the best of any in the last decade.



The greatest of escapes, a sensational derby record, a day at Wembley to be treasured. For those Poyet will always be remembered fondly, but he was another to pay for transfer disasters.

The doomed pursuit of Borini left them in trouble, and loan stars Alonso and Ki were never properly replaced.

What was left was a squad of players wholly unsuited to his desire for passing football.

Comments about Sunderland fans impatience did not help. The mood on Wearside lurched from delirious to acrimonious.



Bruce came as close as anyone to cracking it in the transfer market.

Welbec was an excellent loan addition, Zenden brought experience, Bent and Gyan goals and flair. John Mensah, when fit, was a sensation.

The dismantling of that team was painful, its replacement slower, less inventive, less exciting.

There are parallels in that transition between Big Sam’s encouraging side and the poor outfit that has followed it this campaign.

Like Moyes, the relationship with the terraces was only ever cordial at best, and toxic at worst.

His comments about his Newcastle past only served to underline that sense of distance and apathy, even if his side briefly flickered with something special.



Realistic but never defeatist, confident in his own ability and popular with the players.

The football, and results, left a lot to be desired until some sterling January work.

The counter-attacking, resilient side that emerged offered hope for the future, and that win percentage was bound to head upwards.

A necessary caveat to all of that, is noises about trouble behind the scenes and fears for the future predated the FA’s faithful intervention.


2007/08 WIN RATE 28% - 2008/09 WIN RATE 16%

It is interesting that many Sunderland fans have spoken wistfully about a Roy Keane return this season.

For obvious reasons, the same goes for Big Sam, but why is Keane’s tenure remembered more fondly than others?

It probably owes much to his belligerent personality, his attacking instincts, his no nonsense approach.

In that first season back in the Premier League, the Stadium of light was a fortress, late goals aplenty.

The contrast between then and now is stark. Of course, when it went wrong for Keane, it went badly wrong.

There were some spectacular drubbings, and the signings in that second summer unsettled the squad and soured the mood.

The come down from that derby win was brutal, but Keane put the pride back in the Black Cats.

That was far more important than a win percentage that was solid if far from spectacular.



Comfortably the most divisive of the managers on this list.

Some still feel he had a group of under-performing players sussed, many saw him as an egomaniac running amok.

His reign quickly became a disaster, signings dreadful, key players sidelined, tactics gung-ho.

Had it been allowed to continue it could have descended into acrimony way beyond anything that has been seen this season.

All indicators were that his win percentage was only heading in one direction.



The little general comes out with the worst win record of them all, hampered by a dreadful start to the 2015/16 season that mirrored what happened early in this campaign.

Advocaat went direct, back to basics to begin with and it worked, but he never trusted Jermain Defoe up front on his own and his summer recruits made next to no impact.

The emotional decision to stay after tears on the Emirates touchline should surely have been avoided, easy as it is to say with hindsight.



That win ratio is bolstered by two League Cup wins and a short winter period when Victor Anichebe stunned opponents and hauled Sunderland back from the brink.

*Included League and Cup games for all managers