clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Advocaat: Don't Blame Me For Sunderland Struggles

New, comment

Dick Advocaat has blasted the club for not spending enough. But while Advocaat and his managerial predecessors at Sunderland shouldn't be singularly blamed for what has happened, I'm not sure they get to duck responsibility completely.

Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Those picking up some Sunday press will, no doubt, have seen that Dick Advocaat has given 'his reasons' for quitting Sunderland.

They are reported in The Mirror, which would put a negative spin on it if Sunderland secured peace in the Middle East, but here are the quotes in question:

Tottenham bought the Korean player Son Heung-min for £22million - more than we spent on eight players.

It became clear that we were never going to close the gap and I could not work like that.

I can accept that the big clubs have far more spending power. Man City bought two players - one for £54m and one for £45m. We had to pick up Ola Toivonen for free. Louis van Gaal inherited a fantastic squad, in my opinion, when he took over at Man United. But he was still allowed to spend £300million on players.

Jose Mourinho at Chelsea? Same story. How on earth were we supposed to compete in the Premier League when I wasn't allowed to spend any money?

I did not think I was the right person and manager to work like that any longer.

But I saw other things at the club that were not right.

That's why I informed the owner in the midweek before my last match that there was no way I was going to stay as manager.

It was very simple. I loved being manager of a beautiful club like Sunderland.

But, when you are working seven days a week, putting so much energy into the team, you want something positive in return. That just didn't happen.

The first thing you want to say is WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING?! The spending power of clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United have absolutely no relevance to Sunderland.

It's starting to look like all the stuff he said about the squad "just not being good enough" immediately after he left was in the wildly unrealistic context of competing towards the top of the league.

It's not all really that important I guess. If he did have unrealistic expectations about the nature of the job right now, then he's right, he wasn't the right person for it and fair play for standing down.

But it does continue an annoying trend.

We've seen managers come in, promise much, deliver little, and then claim they didn't have the right tools for the job.

Now, I don't question an assertion that Sunderland's squad is lacking in a little true quality. Dominating games for ninety minutes at this level is going to be beyond them, certainly on a regular basis.

But I don't really care about that. There are at least another dozen squads in the Premier League that you could say at least the same about. It's not like I turn up for games expecting or demanding dominant brilliant football. I'd love to be able to some day, but ha'way.

What I do expect, and I don't think it is unrealistic to do so, is a certain level of energy, commitment, passion, fitness, and honesty from Sunderland, and by 'certain level' I mean 100%. Every time. No excuses. You don't buy those things in the transfer market - you inspire them from within themselves.

I still have a massive soft spot for Advocaat and I can understand his frustration. This club has frustrated me enough, and still does on a daily basis, to have sympathy for it driving anyone crackers. But let's not forget, Dick, that it was those things mentioned above that you initially got out of the players that kept the club up last season. You knew they were important then, so why change you tune now?

Frankly, I'm sick of the precession of managers coming into the club, singularly failing to instil those basic cornerstones into our team, and then hide behind others.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Sunderland both have more money and spend more money if at all possible, but it's time managers or head coaches or whatever started to take responsibility for the practical things they can affect but are not, rather than wasting all our time and energy moaning about the idealisms they don't get.

You can't blame managers alone for what has gone on at Sunderland, but by the same token they can't duck responsibility completely either.