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Roundup: Allardyce Incredulity, Moyes Is Still Box-Office, & Players "Don't Know Why"

In this morning's roundup: Allardyce is all over the headlines - Initial reaction; Moyes has been all over the headlines too, and with him turning the heat up on his players, three of them have been talking to the media, but none seem to know how to fix this mess.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Allardyce - Initial Reaction

Poached from Sunderland on July 22nd, a summer of turmoil, two months and one game in charge, and Big Sam has left his position at the helm of the England national team by mutual agreement.

Fans on Wearside, in truth, haven’t fully recovered from the loss of the man who just seemed to fit seamlessly in to the Stadium of Light hot seat.

To think he left Sunderland to become the shortest-serving England manager of all time, whilst his former team struggles to recreate anything like the form he had generated during his tenure at the Stadium of Light, is nothing short of gut-wrenching.

To add a twist, much maligned former boss, Steve Bruce, is the odds-on bookies' choice to replace him, whilst Saturday’s victor at the Stadium of Light, former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, has been installed as second favourite.

You simply cannot write stories like this, yet it feels so typical of how things go at Sunderland. Many who watched him go, felt that the FA were taking a risk on Allardyce due to his reputation and colourful past. It seemed certain that elements would go after him with the intent of digging up dirt. The fact it took such a short space of time for him to royally mess-up, in such a stupid manner, is simply incredible.

Sadly, as much as we may have hankered after a Big Sam triumphant return for a moment, that needs to be dismissed as simply not the right thing for Sunderland AFC.

David Moyes was handpicked as Allardyce's most obvious successor and as disappointing as early results have been, there is no way that should change in the short-term. What we must do now is get behind the manager, the club and the team.

The manner in which Big Sam left Sunderland to flirt with the FA, whilst his players were in Austria for a pre-season training camp, should not be forgotten. Nor should we gloss-over the impact his walking out had on the club, the players and the fans.

The best course Allardyce can take now, is to disappear and lie low for a while; maybe return to Bolton one day once the furore has died down.

He made his bed and we wished him well as he lay in it and chased his "dream job"; but it is Allardyce who has sh*t in it and Allardyce who needs to lie in it, not Sunderland AFC.

Moyes in The Headlines

Meanwhile, the fall-out from Sunderland’s three league defeats in twelve days continues at a pace, but has been ramped up since Saturday’s capitulation. What is notable, is the slant most media outlets are taking – and it’s all about Moyes.

Notwithstanding the fact that this season is sure to be Sunderland’s latest relegation battle in a miserable five-year sequence comprising six permanent managers, the headlines have focused on David Moyes’ struggles. Despite it being two-and-a-half years since his sacking from Manchester United, the newspapers remain hopeful of another Moyes-failure story to add to the Real Sociedad chapter.

In the Sunday and Monday post-match reaction, "Moyes" featured in the headline of twelve articles across the online versions of the major national daily newspapers. The fixation on the manager's woes was significant. The locals were in a similar mood,  but at least their content was more expansive in considering the wider issues at play in Sunderland’s perennial struggle.

For the nationals, David Moyes has become something of a target for their perpetual hunt for victims. He was at Everton far too long and his tenure was too stable, too consistent and too darn dull to be of interest to the tabloids or the more vindictive hacks at the broadsheets. As a result, his Manchester United stint was a gift to the newspapers. Moyes’ miserable failure was a delight for journalists more accustomed to taking a kicking Fergie-style at Old Trafford.

Also of more concern, Sunderland now occupy a sole role in the psyche of the national media  – the whipping boys of the Premier League, car-crash viewing and the perennial club-in-crisis. Net result – plenty of media coverage but all of it depressingly familiar. Sadly, it’s all our own doing;  and another bad result at the weekend will see it intensify on Moyes, particularly with the Sam Allardyce side-story likely to feature as added bite.

Reassuringly, No One Knows The Answer, Not Even Seb

With Moyes turning the heat on his Sunderland players in his post-match comments following Saturday's defeat to Crystal Palace, a couple of them have attempted to come up with their own reasons for the dismal showings on the pitch.

Speaking to the Sunderland EchoLamine Kone blamed concentration, before admitting he really had no idea why things have gotten so bad:
"The problem? Maybe it is down to concentration. What happened, it is not normal. I don’t know why."
Jan Kirchhoff blamed a lack of leadership and communication on the pitch in the Evening Chronicle, before concluding he doesn't really have a clue why Sunderland's players are incapable of performing as soon as they get on the pitch:
"We get prepared well before the game and we know what to do. But we didn’t do it properly."

If Kirchhoff and Kone, who have only been with the club for nine months can't fathom it out, perhaps veteran of five years and five relegation battles, Sebastian Larsson, can shed some light. Sadly not:
"I don’t know why this is happening, I spoke about it after the game to a friend of mine. If I knew the answer, it wouldn’t be happening because I would have told someone ‘do this instead’!"
With David Moyes reading from the annual Sunderland manager cue-card and suggesting "there is something else wrong here and I'm no closer to identifying it", is there really no hope?

Whatever happened to coming out fighting? Big Sam would have.

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