Another derby day is looming and we find ourselves yet again being linked with a number of managerial names. The two events appear to now annually co-exist. According to reports today in Italian newspaper Gazzeta Dello Sport, Walter Mazzarri was at Old Trafford to watch the Black Cats play Manchester United at the weekend. In addition further reports have linked us with Patrick Vieira and Sean Dyche. Presumably, the inference from this is that contact has been made with at least the former in the event Dick Advocaat leaves, voluntarily or otherwise, in the near future.
Let's try and look at this pragmatically. With October upon us we're unfortunately without a win, all very familiar isn't it? However given the current situation it would be naïve of any club not to have contingency plans in place. Indeed history tells us Ellis Short has usually got something up his sleeve in these exact circumstances. How do we know? It happens so often obviously.
We've clearly tried a variety of approaches now over the last few years without any real tangible success. There's been the experienced manager, the new up and coming coach, the up and coming coach without the baggage and of course the seasoned governor who's won it all. Nothing has worked. I think we can all agree though that changing the man in charge every time we hit a tough patch isn't going to advance us as a team. It's a quick fix that fails to get to the route of the problem(s).
The key issue, as we know, is that getting matters fundamentally resolved takes time. It requires periods where we're going to be well below par. This in turn means we're going to lose games and potentially drop out of the top flight. Short I'm sure, like us all, will be only too aware of this and I'm confident has the interests of the club at heart. But the catch 22 is it's clearly financially so important for us to remain in the Premier League and that, right there, is one of the significant issues holding us back. In these circumstances the owner knows that changing the head coach might not be the most sustainable approach but it has been proven to get us over the line in the past. When a run of games has gone against us and a roll of the dice is required, changing the man at the top has been a gamble that has regularly paid off. Why do anything different now? At a time when it appears uncertainty is the only inevitability, changing the coach is as good a guarantee of success as anything. Yes we know it can't continue like this indefinitely but it might just work again, mightn't it?
Now I'm not suggesting this is the right approach for one minute but let's try and put ourselves into the mindset of those making the difficult decisions. Money has been invested and whilst probably not to the extent Advocaat would have wanted it's certainly more than most of the clubs that are typically around us come the end of a season. We've tried every approach going, where else can we turn?
I've tried to play devil's advocate here. In my view Dick should remain in charge until the end of the season at least but having said that, I can understand the decisions that need to be made when running a football club can't be easy. Matters are certainly not helped by sections of the media putting excess pressure onto the situation. The next few games will be crucial for us in terms of the person who will be in charge and see the league campaign to the end. I'd like to say different but history tells us otherwise.