Wise Men Say: Is Jack Ross on borrowed time or should he be given longer to prove he can deliver promotion?
I’M starting to think that Jack Ross may be on borrowed time as Sunderland boss.
I do hope I’m wrong and all of talk surrounding the impending takeover suggests that the new owners are prepared to give him time.
I like Ross and obviously want him to do well here, and I have to say the one time I met him and heard him talk about his personal ambitions and those for the club, I was very impressed.
But it hasn’t really gone to plan, and some sections of Sunderland supporters are starting to call for him to go.
I personally think that is being far too hasty, but I fear the new owners may feel they have to act if the dissenting voices start to grow louder and in numbers.
Ross, of course, has to take some of the blame.
He arrived on Wearside with a growing reputation and a clear style of play which had brought him success north of the border.
That seems to be mixed and matched, diluted and at times abandoned and it is hard to tell exactly what the style of play is at times.
And sometimes you feel that the substitutions made aren’t the right ones or aren’t done at the right time.
But there are other things that have contributed to the Black Cats falling short last season.
Ross didn’t sell Josh Maja to balance the books.
I’m not arguing that selling to Bordeaux wasn’t necessary, but it had definitely had a major impact, and for me was one of the major factors in Sunderland missing out on promotion.
He must have, however, identified numerous targets which have come in and fallen short of expectations, although you can’t blame him for paying over the odds for Will Grigg.
The genius behind that move lays firmly at the door of our current owner.
On paper signing Grigg and Charlie Wyke looked shrewd decisions, on grass they have looked decidedly less so.
Neither has lived up to their billing so far, and the same could be said for several other signings who have arrived under Ross.
But the club’s recruitment set-up as a whole does not seem fit for purpose.
I realise things had to be scaled down when the club suffered successive relegations and the financial cloth had to be cut accordingly.
But to me it just feels like even before that we seemed to be more miss than hit when it came to recruitment.
If/when the new owners come in (thankfully it looks like the latter) they aren’t going to throw millions at the playing squad – Financial Fair Play (FFP) won’t allow it.
But while the playing side does need improving, I think the new regime need to invest in the academy to ensure it keeps Level 1 status and make sure they rip up the current recruitment set-up and start again.
It may take some time to reap the rewards of investing in both the academy and setting up a recruitment set-up which is fit for purpose, but even in the world of modern day football which demands instant results, it would be worth the wait in my opinion.
Maybe the same could be said for giving Ross more time to get it right.