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"David Moyes SHOULD stay; now is the time to break the cycle of sacking managers"

I'm amazed it's taken so long, in all honesty, but the debate over David Moyes' Sunderland future is well and truly underway.  

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

I'll get this out immediately - I want him to stay.

Now, here's the thing that's important to remember: you don't have to think Moyes is currently doing a good job in order to advocate the club persisting with him.

At times this season, fairly often, in fact, Moyes has been an utter disaster. You can't really argue otherwise. He's been tactically inconsistent and downright de-motivational. The results don't lie. But, for me, it's not really a question of whether or not Moyes should be sacked. It's a question of whether the club should be prioritising planning for the short-term, or the long-term.

I think, frankly, the decision-makers at Sunderland have to start getting real. What they've got is a total mess. Too many managers have suffered the same problems and too many players the same decline.

How often has a vastly experienced manager come to Sunderland and failed in a manner wholly out of keeping with the rest of their career? Almost as often as a good footballer has come to Sunderland and suddenly forgotten to pass a football, I'd suggest.

It would be lovely - well, nicer - if you could encapsulate all of the club's problems into one man's failures, and banish them all along with him in one fell swoop. But we are way beyond that stage at Sunderland. Surely that's apparent to everyone?

We basically, right now, have the exact same problems that we had five years ago. Atrocious home form, mental fragility, sub-standard recruitment, zero on-pitch identity.

Managers have come and gone, and yet these problems are still here. The frequency of changes surely plays a huge part in that, because every new one who comes in goes back to square one since his predecessor didn't have the time to get much further.

There are no quick fixes for this club, just temporary patch-up work to mask the symptoms while the causes persist. Relegation is not part of the solution, it never is. I flat-out disagree with anyone who says it will be a good thing for the club. But it shouldn't be seen as catastrophic, either, and certainly not to the point that desperation to avoid it dictates the entire existence of the club.

There will probably be many who agree with all of this and yet ask the all important question: What makes Moyes the man to trust in the long-term? It's a good question. Moyes is a risk. He has made himself that with results. But name me an attainable manager who could replace him who won't be a risk. It's not an exact science, far from it. No one out there can offer any guarantees at all.

However, the 'positives' column on Moyes stands up and looks like a tough bar for anyone to better.

He has vast experience, a track record in rebuilding a club from the foundations up and instilling an identity, and a good reputation when it comes to unearthing talent and installing a system at a club to reliably scout players.

Most importantly, though, for me anyway, is that he's had almost a year to analyse what's going on at the club and set about change. Frankly, I don't think I have the energy to watch yet another new manager slowly come to the realisations we all had years ago.

Do I want to see Sunderland relegated? Absolutely not. But more than anything, certainly more than survival, I want a football club to be proud of again.

I want a club who play with an identity and put the right kind of characters on the pitch in those red and white stripes. I want a strong club, a healthy club, a respected club. And all of that comes from sticking with a manager, pushing through the bad times that are probably ahead, with conviction and committing to a plan.

People tell me that sticking with Moyes is surrendering and accepting relegation. I disagree entirely. It's the easy option to blame him and sack him whilst ignorantly pretending he'll take all our problems away with him. No one else has, have they?

So please don't mistake me for being pro-Moyes here. I'm not. I'm just anti-quitting. Let's tough it out and see what we can achieve on the tougher road.

After all, it's worth remembering that two of the last three managers who were in the Sunderland dugout when relegated brought us back up again.

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