Sadly, they're a lot more similar than you may think. Both Moyes and Advocaat began their summers at Sunderland under the same circumstances, and neither of them have the formula to make the best of a bad bunch.
Let's start our comparison by dismantling the respective transfer windows of the Scot and the Dutchman. For Advocaat, he arrived (or rather, returned) amid sheer sensation. He'd developed an emotional bond with our club, shedding a tear as we ground out the penultimate 0-0 of a monotonous ex-Poyetan season; the essence of our club was simply too much for him to consider retirement just yet.
But his re-arrival brought with him a black cloud, a black cloud that showered our pre-season and transfer window with panic and negativity. The targets identified by the club consisted of either temperamental figures such as Jeremain Lens, or anonymous squad-fillers in the form of Adam Matthews and Ola Toivonen. The squad was questionable, and so were the results, as evidenced by a pre-season consisting of losses to the likes of Doncaster Rovers and Sacramento Republic - as well as a dark moment when we were 2-0 down to sixth tier side Darlington.
Moyesie's start was no different - all you need to do is change the names of a few teams and players and you've got yourself a near-identical situation. With Allardyce taken from us by the FA, Moyes took up a challenge that required him to assemble a talented team on a limited budget with a limited amount of time.
The outcome? A winless run to see out pre-season and a plethora of panic buys to give us a sense of completion rather than any real improvement. He bought in bulk from Man Utd as they looked to offload their rejects, and gave an aged Steven Pienaar another season once his other targets became unavailable.
The inability to invest in quality, and resorting to investing in home comforts, was a contributing factor to how Dick flopped, and it's equally as apparent with Moyes. But there's more to the comparison than just that.
I've established so far that both Moyes and Advocaat were faced with difficult situations - with the common denominator being a lack of accessible funds to buy quality. But it's not just their respectively similar situations, it's how they go about dealing with the consequential obstacles.
Moyes didn't hesitate to drastically lower our expectations, or even our hopes that this was finally the season where we'd enjoy the mediocre normality of lower-mid table. No, he insisted from the get-go that we were in a relegation battle, that he didn't have a good team and was completely aware of it. Whilst I can admire the honesty to an extent, it does nothing but fill us with dread.
I don't think you can hide the facts. People will be flat because they are hoping that something is going to dramatically change - it can't dramatically change, it can't.
Advocaat was the same. The Dutchman would alternate through sitting and standing as Sunderland slumped to defeats, but one thing that remained consistent with him was the sulk across his face. As the Black Cats went down numerous times without a fight, Advocaat watched on, and simply told the press we weren't capable of battling the odds.
Our squad was simply not good enough. The club knew we had to strengthen ourselves but the chairman never told me how much we could spend. I became negative and that didn't feel like myself.
- Dick Advocaat as reported in the Daily Mail, 5th October 2015.
This is ultimately the crux of the comparison. Neither have faith.
Both managers couldn't get the quality, and both have descended into negativity once results predictably went south. Once Advocaat was down, he couldn't pick himself up. For the sake of our season, let's hope history doesn't repeat itself with Moyes.
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