David Moyes and Martin Bain aim for gradual end to Sunderland’s struggles

Sunderland AFC manager David Moyes
Sunderland AFC manager David Moyes
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The parade of a new Sunderland manager is as familiar a part of the Wearside narrative as eulogising over the annual escape from the drop.

Each fresh incumbent stresses the importance of ending the cycle of toil and shakes their head at the damning statistic that Steve Bruce was the last Sunderland manager to complete a full season.

As the sixth Sunderland boss since Bruce was sacked in November 2011, David Moyes was no different at his first press conference yesterday. How could he be?

But as Moyes alternated between the various sections of media, another fresh face at the Stadium of Light, new chief executive Martin Bain, also embarked upon a spot of meet and greet.

While it’s been a baptism of fire for Moyes at Sunderland, it’s been an equally draining period for Bain.

The ex-Rangers chief exec has only been at the helm for a month and he’s already had to cope with England poaching Sam Allardyce, a search for a successor and a recruitment drive that becomes ever more pressing.

Two pairs of fresh eyes will spearhead Sunderland’s attempts to halt the club’s perennial struggles and speaking to both, there was a sense of putting a clear strategy in place for long-term success.

That’s encouraging.

For too long - certainly since Niall Quinn left the Stadium of Light - Sunderland have muddled along with a make-do-and-mend ‘plan’ which seems to have consisted of little more than scrambling to Premier League survival.

Fellow Scots Bain and Moyes want it to be different, although the latter knows it will take time to fulfil those aspirations.

“We are not going to change it overnight,” admits Moyes, who spoke at length to Allardyce before his appointment was formalised.

“This has to be a journey and it’s probably going to be a slower-burner, but if we can get a little bit of momentum, this club has all the potential to be with the big boys.”

However, Moyes hopes there will be signs of gradual improvement from Sunderland in the coming months, even if he stresses it will be a case of baby-steps to build on Allardyce’s work from the second half of last season.

“I really believe that the owner wants stability and I am here to bring that,” said the 53-year-old.

“The supporters want to see the club going forward.

“I hope we can make progress quickly, but realistically let’s hope there is a small step every year.

“I don’t want to say that avoiding relegation is the challenge because I want to give the people more than that, although maybe after 10 games that is what we will want.

“But I am not here for that – I am here to build a team, to make progress and try to fulfil the potential of Sunderland. Sunderland’s potential is huge.

“We only need to have a rattle at the top end of the league a couple of times and it will completely change the outlook of how people see the club.”

There is little parallel between the situation Moyes inherited at Manchester United or his last employers Real Sociedad, even though Sunderland’s players have noticed several La Liga-based training drills over recent days.

Yet Moyes agrees with the similarities with Everton in 2002, when he arrived at Goodison Park faced with a club that consistently struggled at the wrong end of the table.

Everton had several ageing big-earners on the books - Paul Gascoigne, Duncan Ferguson and David Ginola - while Moyes’ transfer budget was a mere £5million.

Sunderland have a few more foundations for Moyes to build upon, yet his squad is paper-thin.

He added: “This has got to be a building job. Hopefully I’m here for four years and I’ll try to bring a level of stability to the club.

“This reminds me a little bit of Everton when I took over. Everton had been in the bottom six, I think, four out of the five years before I came in.

“In my last eight years I never finished outside the top eight. We were able to get Everton up the league, but that didn’t come in one fell swoop.

“That came bit by bit and I’m hoping to do something similar here. Hopefully we can do a bit of an Everton.”