"You Can't Polish A Turd" - O'Neill Still The Man For The Job

Stu Forster

Anyone that follows my twitter account is fully aware that I can be a bipolar little berk at times. There are days where I fully believe O'Neill is the man for the job over the long term and then I have days where I feel that someone else with new ideas would could come in and do a better job of making us a team that finishes consistently in the top ten of this division.

Right now, in the midst of yet another hopeless performance by the players yesterday against a depleted Norwich side, I still feel that O'Neill is the best man for the job. In fact, I'll stand by that statement now regardless of whether we are still in this league next season. I've decided to stop letting anger get the better of my thought process.

Has our quietly spoken Irish gaffer made big mistakes whilst in charge? Yes, there have been many. I'll list them for you if you like.

1. The signings of Kader Mangane, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Wayne Bridge still baffle me. I understand the need to strengthen the squad in the January window but I just see it a waste of club resources when we don't give any of them the chance to prove their worth to the first team whilst here. It ties in with the theory many fans have that O'Neill likes to pick his favourites - a debate for another day, perhaps.

2. What was the point in letting so many squad players leave the club in January, at a time when we already had a small and limited bunch to work with?

Fraizer Campbell is by no means the answer to our attacking woes but at least his pace offered us something different. It could be argued that David Meyler is a far better midfield option than any of the current crop bar Cattermole and N'Diaye - Vaughan, Larsson and Colback have hardly pulled up any trees this season in that position.

Ahmed Elmohammady has gone to Hull City on loan and has shown he's a very adept wing back, another option we currently don't possess. The fact we named such a poor bench last week at QPR would suggest we maybe should have hung on to one or two of them for a while longer.

3. O'Neill's persistence with starting Seb Larsson in central midfield.

We're 30 games into the league season and you can count the number of half decent performances he has had in the middle on a just one hand. He's not incisive enough, rarely takes on his man or makes a defence-splitting pass, which I presume is why he has been persisted with there.

On top of that, his free kicks have gone to pot and he can't beat the first man on a corner. He's become a worse player over the course of this season because he's woefully out of his depth as a central midfielder. What O'Neill sees in him is beyond me.

4. MON's reluctance to introduce substitutes into a game until it is far too late is increasingly frustrating when it's clear that whatever we are trying is not working.

This happens every week. What the hell was Wickham really going to do in five minutes yesterday? Why did McClean not enter the field until 70-odd minutes had passed taking into consideration that Adam Johnson had yet another disappointing game?

Perhaps I have only flirted over a couple of his flaws since arriving at the club, but you catch my drift. Those that I have brought to your attention seem to be the common complaints of the manager from our fans, anyhow.

The point, however, is this. He's not alone. All managers make poor decisions. It's part of the job. I myself coach a youth football team and sometimes question my decision making in hindsight. It's only natural that we acknowledge that we've made an error. We're only human after all.

His track record stands before him. He's got a proven record of success at almost every club he's ever managed. He's convinced that Sunderland are a top six club in the making. He's aware that we have not got the talent in the side. That, my friends, is the most important factor in all of this.

Our manager has publicly recognised that his team are simply not good enough.

Factor in that this coming summer is his greatest opportunity to put his own mark on building a potent and resilient squad, we'd be fools to not let such an esteemed manager take us forward.

It's completely astounding that people would rather pass this up and bring in yet another short term fix, another manager who will still have the likes of Bramble, Kilgallon, Larsson, Vaughan, Colback and Bardsley to shift off the wage bill in the summer. It doesn't matter who is in charge, they still have to work with the same squad of players that O'Neill has to.

Of course, we must not ignore the current predicament. We are in danger of yet another relegation from the top flight to the graveyard that is the Championship. It's nowhere near as easy to climb back out of that division as it was when Roy Keane dragged us to the top of the table in 2007, so it is massively vital that we do absolutely everything to stay up this season.

We have to cross our fingers and hope that we can come through the dreadful fixtures we have left with our Premier League status intact. We have to hope that this sorry bunch of no-hopers we currently employ at the club to represent our team have enough to see us through until the end of the season. Their distinct lack of character needs to improve very quickly before we find ourselves lost without hope.

There's only so much the manager can do. You'd be a fool to think our current situation doesn't hurt him as much as it does the Sunderland fans.

Gavin Henderson

Follow me on twitter - @GavinSAFC

Are you making a FanPost? Well that's fantastic, just keep it tasteful.

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