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Make Your Case: Is David Moyes' 'honesty' with the media a good or bad thing?

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After each and every David Moyes press conference there is a noticeable split in opinion about the things that he says. Some feel he's too honest and needs to exude more positivity, whilst others feel that his realism is good and refreshing. Where do you stand?

Manchester United Training Session and Press Conference Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Karl: What Moyes Says To The Media Doesn't Matter!

David Moyes isn’t saying anything that we don’t already know. Both on the pitch and off the pitch, Sunderland are a mess, and whatever Moyes happens to say to a journalist will have no bearing on that.

Fans have asked for more truthfulness and clarity from the management, and Moyes is simply telling it as it is.

Wearside seemed to explode on Friday morning after Moyes told reporters than any signings were unlikely to “massively make a big difference.”

"We probably couldn't get that level of player and probably wouldn't have the finances," he added.

It’s not positive, and is ideally something that you don’t want to hear as a Sunderland fan, but it won’t be far from the truth. The signing of Joleon Lescott and links to Robbie Keane, both old and free, seem to confirm this.

The situation comes down to interpretation. Some have suggested that Moyes’ comments regarding potential signings would discourage them from joining the club. I think that that is a load of nonsense. Money talks; not for all players, but for most, and if the pay packet was tempting enough then the player in question would have little hesitation in signing on the dotted line, particularly if the club inserted a ‘relegation release clause’ allowing them a quick getaway should the club go down. Besides, is a player put off by a few throwaway comments in a press conference the type that you’d want to help the club fight relegation?

Regardless, Martin Bain has already confirmed that January spending will be “very, very limited.” Who can you sign on a “very, very limited” budget that will “massive make a big difference?” Let’s not forget that Sam Allardyce spent close to £16M in last season’s January window. Telling us that we could sign players that would make a big difference (as it stands) would not be telling the truth, and likely another slap in the face of long-suffering Sunderland fans. He’d probably be labelled “deluded” and his comments used as further evidence of him ‘losing the plot.’

And really, Moyes can’t win when it comes to comments made in the media. Tell the fans that we can’t sign quality players, and he’s labelled negative and defeatist. Tell the BBC that “we are not that far away (from safety),” and he’s off his head.

Fans seem more and more interested in press conferences over the last few years and base some opinions on what it said in them, and I’ve done this myself, but in reality, they mean very little. They’re a set of generic questions met with generic answers. What Moyes says to the press isn’t important. What he says to his players and staff behind closed doors is.

And let’s not forget that a certain Sam Allardyce was far from Mr Happy during his time here.


Damian: His Honesty Is Harmful!

The word Gaffer can be traced back hundreds of years. In it’s loose and colloquial English form it originates as Godfather which, in turn, translates in non-secular to “a man who is influential or pioneering in a movement or organization.” What a far cry David Moyes is from such definitions.

This is a man who, on the eve of his first visit as manager of Sunderland AFC to the Stadium of Light, described his impending duty as a relegation battle. Whilst no one can sensibly argue that this was a distinct possibility given the previous four years of flirtation with the drop, it’s not what you want to hear from your manager before your first day of work.

Waxing lyrical in that professional manner forced upon all managers and coaches by the British media, he had at first described his appointment as an opportunity to “… make progress up the league and compete where we should be competing.” These words, my friends, were empty.

But this isn’t so much to disparage David Moyes professionally as it is to stress the importance of a positive outlook within the realms of sport. It also conveniently concerns Humanity as a whole.

In actuality it should take few words to convince any reader of the boon of positivity for a man leading a squad in to competition and the inarguable effect such positivity has on that squads performance.

It’s been said that ‘No army ever marched to battle believing God was on the side of their enemy.’ This holds true in any situation, religion disregarded. No true football team, as we define it and hope for it to be, goes in to a match and knows with utter certainty that they will lose. Only the weak-willed and broken and indentured are forced to accept the peace of defeat over the blood-fuelled challenge of true combat under the judging eyes of forty thousand peers.

When a man leads men through training or combat or life he must be a man held high in regard.

David Moyes is not that man.

Again, this isn’t a message to disgrace the gentleman in question or to advocate a change in management, this is purely factual.

David Moyes has consistently torn down the expectations of every Sunderland AFC fan, player and I don’t doubt staff in his all - pervading crusade to deflect what he seemingly perceives as an inevitability (relegation) from tarnishing his already – tarnished career. To this effect he leads every press conference like a Eulogy, his every word and facial expression mirrors that of a man already laid low by the pressures of modern football, the Premier League and an ill-advised owner in Ellis Short.

As I’ve said I don’t need to stress the importance of having the man in charge look at you and speak to you as if you’re worth something: as if you’re going somewhere and you can get there together as a team and as an individual. He looks like a man given to defeat before he mounted a fight.

Is it any wonder our core players are dispassionate and without direction? Is it any wonder our most valuable players have their heads turned?

Would you walk willingly to your own execution?