Strong appetite for stability, says Sunderland boss after meeting with fans

David Moyes
David Moyes
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David Moyes believes there is a strong appetite for stability at Sunderland AFC after meeting with supporters’ branches.

The Sunderland boss has faced criticism from some sections of the fanbase after overseeing eight Premier League games without a win.

Moyes took the opportunity this week to meet supporters after a shocking start to the campaign, which sees the Black Cats bottom and embroiled in another relegation battle for a fourth consecutive season.

Moyes replaced Sam Allardyce in the summer, with the former Everton boss the sixth permanent manager in five years.

And the 53-year-old Scot said the cycle of constant change must come to an end at some point.

Chief executive Martin Bain admitted in an interview with Sunderland’s official website that the club had lost its identity after a traumatic few years, something both he and Moyes are keen to rediscover.

“I met with some of the supporters this week, had a chat and heard their questions and thoughts,” said Moyes.

“They were probably speaking on behalf of all the supporter branches.

“I felt most of them were mostly thinking the same, that we would like this to come to an end - as far as constant change - they want to see something put in place where you can see it moving forward.

“Martin’s comments this week were close to the mark, there is a bit of back to basics, engaging more with the community and the area - the North East roots.

“It is easy saying these things, though, we have to put it into action over the long-term.

“Ultimately, we are judged by what people see on the pitch at the moment.

“We are trying to change other things, which hopefully will be to the benefit of the club in the longer term.”

When asked what feedback he got from the fans, Moyes said: “From the fan groups I didn’t hear anything which was negative.

“Most of them were saying we know the damage that has been done and things we want to do better in the transfer market, whether it be buying or selling players.

“My feeling is that most don’t want Sunderland to be seen as a club that keeps changing, keeps changing, keeps changing.

“I got the feeling they would like an identity and it probably comes from a manager who comes and stays for a period and then you can grow something.

“That was the feeling I got from it,” added Moyes ahead of the trip to face West Ham United at the London Stadium.

Meanwhile, reports that a Chinese consortium had shown interest in taking over at Sunderland emerged this week.

There was initial interest earlier in the summer with very informal discussions not progressing any further and there are no talks currently ongoing, as reported earlier this week.

Moyes insists it has been business as usual for the players on the training ground this week.

The Sunderland boss said: “I haven’t heard any players mention it.

“It has not been a distraction to me.”

Neither owner and chairman Ellis Short nor the club has publicly stated the club is up for sale, though the Echo understands that could change if the owner felt it was in the best interests of SAFC.