David Jones: In hindsight it was mistake to bring Dick Advocaat back

Dick Advocaat.
Dick Advocaat.
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By the time the brief statement appeared on the official Sunderland website on Sunday afternoon, we all knew what was coming.

It was a strange way for Dick Advocaat to say goodbye after all we’d been through together.

But that was Advocaat in a a nutshell: no pomp or circumstance, unswervingly loyal to the man who appointed him, not prepared to be drawn on any splits in the camp before he drifted back to his native Netherlands.

Later, we were told, he took the decision in the best interests of the football club after watching Sunderland surrender at Old Trafford a week earlier, but was persuaded to stay on until the international break.

But I’m not sure in what way Sunderland will be better off for Dick departing eight games into the campaign: I can’t help thinking we’ve been left in the lurch.

The first half performance against West Ham was arguably the best 45 minutes of his tenure and, but for some sloppy finishing as the half progressed, Sunderland would have been out of sight at the break.

We saw evidence that the new signings had come to terms with their surroundings, and coincidence or not, we saw a performance from Steven Fletcher we’ve long been waiting for.

None of us really know whether Advocaat had a say in choosing any of the new players, though we know now he felt the squad was too short of quality.

His public pronouncements in May on Sunderland’s shortcomings fell on deaf ears and when the new recruits finally came, they came too late.

With hindsight, it now looks like a huge mistake persuading the Dutchman to postpone his retirement beyond the end of last season.

Had the club’s hierarchy been forced to find a new manager in June, would we be in a worse position now? It’s hard to imagine.

Another change though at this stage, bringing more unrest, another new coaching team, and by the sounds of things a new director of football, or perhaps even a new structure, is the last thing we need.

Sure it might bring an upturn in the short term, but from this awful start it’s going to take a hell of a turnaround just to keep Sunderland in the division again.

With speculation surrounding Lee Congerton’s future, the word is Ellis Short is ready to abandon the Director of Football plan which so many managers, even in the modern game, seem to detest.

We saw it recently with West Brom who’d had great success using that model and then with the club up for sale and fearing relegation, they promptly abandoned years of work to persuade Tony Pulis to join them.

It worked in the short term, but it’s not a formula for long term success.

It’s said that Sam Allarydce would not be prepared to work in that way and would want full control of transfers were he to be persuaded to come to Wearside.

I would have thought transfer policy would be the least of Sam’s worries, that is unless our owner has just found an extra £50m down the back of his sofa!

If the squad had been strengthened as it needed to be at the start of the summer we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.

It all feels like such a mess.

The danger now is that through our desperation a new manager will be able to hold us to ransom.

I’d rather hire someone desperate to prove themselves than someone who sees it us another pay day, or even give Robbie Stockdale a chance to stake a claim for the job.

At least that would mean a look in for the youngsters, who sit top of the U21 league and whom neither Advocaat or Gus Poyet were prepared to take a chance on.

But I fear already salvation may be an impossible task.

We’ve shown now we have the attacking threat to trouble Premier League teams, but defensively we’ve been disastrous.

And I fear that we as fans have come to depend on this cycle of chaos and somehow find deep within it some tiny shards of hope that serve as our addiction.

Here’s to the new manager, you’ll have the support of the best fans in the world; this is not a job for the faint hearted.

The new manager market is already attracting plenty of interest for SkyBet, but I’m staying away from Sam Allardyce at 10/11.

Of the rest Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at 25/1 is the most attractive of the realistic contenders. Otherwise Robbie Stockdale at 33/1 might be worth a punt given he’s been placed in caretaker charge.