I have used this platform to highlight many a Sunderland game as being “must-win”. In fact, they’ve often been billed the most must-win games of all must-win games. Actually, we’ve had plenty of games that are the mustest of mustesness-win games.
To be fair, in Aprils gone by, the lads have often pulled them out of the bag.
Do we really sense there’s a belief amongst the fans that it can be done this year? I don’t think I have spoken to one person who thinks so. That is a very worrying place to be as a football fan.
It brings up fair questions as to where David Moyes fits in all of this; or perhaps, where he doesn’t fit. While it is very much a modern philosophy to ditch your manager in less than a season, it is also a modern phenomenon that fans seem to care so much about the finances, buying players with a “sell-on value”, and about the long-term vision of the club.
I can see the attraction of having a sound long-term plan, sticking with a manager who can build the club with younger players who can become part of a solid business model. David Moyes has some decent young players at the club who would probably do very well in the division below, should the almost inevitable happen. I also think he has enough in the bank, from a career perspective, to warrant the space and time to be the man to oversee it.
And the club are determined for him to see it through anyway.
I’ll tell you what though, the fans need to see more on the pitch before they are all on board with it.
We don’t sit and talk about finance spreadsheets in the pub, we talk about players, goals and reflect on the moments that create memories for years to come.
Currently, I would like someone to explain to me what the plan on the pitch is. What is the tactical plan and playing style that the players are failing to execute sufficiently every week? That’s not even a rhetorical question either. Tell me. Someone.
Kevin Ball was on the show the other week and explained the ideas behind the team selection and set-up against Burnley. That’s great and it’s insightful. The issue is, that it needs explaining to us in the first place because the games and performances are just so flat and dull that it is impossible, as a fan, to sit there and acknowledge what the players are trying to do at present.
What I see is a side who have picked up 12 of their 20 points with Victor Anichebe as the focal point. What I see is a team that, without him, are utterly rudderless.
Now, and this is something the pro-Moyes camp will point out, Big Vic’s injury is just one of many injuries that have compounded an almost freakish casualty list. That is fair.
There is also sympathy towards the manager in the way the board refused to sanction a move for Leonardo Ulloa in the summer, and by the time they funded it in the winter with the sale of van Aanholt, Leicester refused to let him come because we were relegation rivals.
Look how that scenario has panned out since, too. There is no denying that circumstances around Leicester’s poor first half of the season, England’s poor Euros and injury upon injury have all hindered things for us.
But apathy does not consider such factors and we’re in massive danger of it ruling us all.
This was supposed to be a discussion about the Watford game. But, and perhaps this is symbolic of the general feeling in the stands, I am not sure how much I care about it.