Sunderland survey 2014: Director of Football system still the way forward

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GIVEN how disastrous the tenure of Sunderland’s first director of football was, it is interesting to see that supporters have not turned against the system as a whole.

Roberto De Fanti was appointed as the Black Cats’ first director of football just over a year ago and given the job of identifying potential signings and recruiting them for then manager Paolo Di Canio.

A dozen players were brought in last summer in a huge shake up of the squad but hardly any had Premier League experience and only Vito Mannone among the permanent signings was an unqualified success.

By September, Paolo Di Canio - one half of the new approach had been sacked and in January, De Fanti followed him out of the door.

Chairman Ellis Short though thinks the more continental approach the club had adopted did not represent a failed experiment just because De Fanti had not been able to succeed.

Instead the American decided that the model was the right one - just that De Fanti was not - and promptly installed former Chelsea chief scout in the role.

The majority of Sunderland fans in our survey disagreed with him and if it came down to a majority decision, the post would go.

But the vote was far from overwhelming with 57 per cent saying scrap the position while a significant 43 per cent thought it could prove helpful to the club and to Gus Poyet.

Among those suggesting the system should be kept were Gary Baker of Grindon, who said: “This seems to be the way of the modern game. We have to keep up.”

Bernard Dale of Sunderland put it succinctly: “Right system, wrong appointment,”

And Paul Ryan of Houghton spoke for many when he said: “I don’t think it’s that bad a system, it’s just that whoever is director of football needs to be on the right wavelength with Gus Poyet.”

But the ‘nays’ still carried the day.

“The season showed it was a failure,” said Stephen Dunn of South Shields.

Paul Carr of Essex said: “I don’t think this system works anywhere - there’s too much conflict with the coach.”

“The system’s no good,” said Kevin Burgess of Sunderland. “Too many managers ends up going because some other fella is picking the players.”

Andrew Blacker of Bristol voiced the attitude of the football traditionalists when he said simply: “Let the manager manage.”