John O’Shea, Future Football Boss
He’s back - back in the Sunderland first team, once again because the replacement(s) signed to succeed him have, so far, not been good enough, but back he most certainly is.
It’s felt like a long five years since a thirty-year old John O’Shea joined Steve Bruce at Sunderland. Speaking to the Independent in Ireland, the defender considered the revolving door of managers he has seen come and go at the Stadium of Light since, saying:
The last few years there have been different voices, different ideas. Every manager, whether it’s Martin O’Neill, Sam Allardyce, Dick Advocaat, David Moyes… If I’m not learning from them, I’m doing something wrong.
Sadly, in Sunderland’s case all of them have been doing something wrong. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t be in this predicament year after year, and there wouldn’t have been a need for so darn many of them. In a list of Premier League don't do's, most of them will have been covered by the managers John O'Shea has played for at the Stadium of Light.
What is interesting – perhaps the names he left out – no nod to Steve Bruce or Gus Poyet and certainly no acknowledgement of the hurricane that was Paulo Di Canio. Of course, if legend is to be believed, it was John O’Shea who led the delegation to Chief Executive Margaret Byrne’s door to spark the coup that dethroned the fiery Italian who only managed 175 days and fourteen matches as Sunderland manager.
The other point to ponder, if John O’Shea has worked under some of the big names of recent years in football management at Sunderland, not one of them (so far) has been at his prime at the Stadium of Light, or indeed effective long term, or generally successful. Each has been found out and none has found a way to make this Premier League club tick beyond a decent run or two.
So it is that O’Shea, in the final year of his contract at Sunderland, approaches the next chapter of his career. He is studying the UEFA A-Licence and he has plans to complete the Pro Licence which would enable him to manage a football club.
It does feel like Sunderland might be daft to let O’Shea go and not offer him an opportunity to develop his coaching skills at the club. His peers describe him as an intelligent man and he has a vast wealth of experience.
The problem – with nothing ever definite at the Stadium of Light and a twice-yearly upheaval in the manager’s hotseat the norm, such an opportunity will depend on who is in charge at the given time; and as a football club, this one definitely has no inkling as to how to prepare medium to long term plans.
Colback: Promotion is a "Long Term Project" & Newcastle - "It's not been ideal"
On a quiet day for Sunderland news, the reemergence of a clown (we never tire of been followed by) is a sheer delight.
The international break – a chance for Newcastle fans everywhere to take a breather and seek reassurances that the nation still finds them relevant.
Sadly the national press have little interest in the Championship, so as usual it’s up to the Evening Chronicle to try and provide a little warmth on Tyneside and remind the black-and-white folk that they’re still special.
Only the other day we pondered the apparent spent force that is Jack Colback in his former role of taking a regular swipe at Sunderland. Mortal men would have kept quiet for a year or so following those embarrassing relegation quotes attributed to the ginger ‘utility man’. Not our Jack.
Now 26, Jack Colback should be in his prime, but speaking to the Chronicle he seems resigned to the fact that a swift return to the Premier League may be not be a short-term prospect, admitting that his Newcastle side could be in for a long haul to bounce back:
It’s a long-term goal of promotion...
Never one for decisive statements, Jack is playing it by ear:
... and then to get the club back to where it needs to be, but if we can do that, we can push on from there and see where we can go.
If the St James Park faithful expected Colback to have bounced back from his media hiatus with a rallying cry, this wasn't it. Perhaps the reality of autumn giving way to a winter of slog in the Championship has finally convinced Jack Colback that, to coin a phrase used by a former Newcastle manager, "it's not like it said in the brochure".
Jack’s interview with Chronicle Chief Sports Writer, Mark Douglas, may be tinged with regret at his national humiliation and perhaps it’s only now, two months in to the new season, that he feels able to face the media again.
The summer hysteria even had celebrities like James Corden revelling in the Colback quotes about believing relegation battles were behind him when he left Sunderland.
Jack conceded about his switch to Newcastle:
It’s not been ideal, it’s not gone to plan, so to speak.
Thankfully, for lovers of Colback-bingo, Jack composes himself before delivering the Geordie-cliché equivalent of legs-eleven ("massive club"):
I’m just happy to be at a massive club like this.
But, tinged with the deflation that still surrounds him, on this occasion Colback-bingo falls a little flat as there’s no dig at Sunderland, and not even a nod to the "52,000 screaming Geordies" who cheer him on when he’s warming up in front of them from the subs bench.
How the mediocre has fallen.