Moyes explains why Sunderland supporters haven't turned on him
Bottom of the league with only 20 points accumulated by mid-April. Odds of 1/200 to drop to the Championship and Newcastle, the team Sunderland relegated last season, inching ever closer to replacing the Black Cats in the Premier League.
A squad littered with the inept and the guileless and a handful who are plain just disinterested and a manager who has come under repeated fire for his negativity off the pitch and lack of initiative on it.
But still the terraces haven't turned on him and likely still won't today for the visit of West Ham - even if Sunderland do, as expected, labour against the team who are only six places above them this afternoon.
Much has been written about why Mackems haven't voiced their displeasure towards David Moyes. But the man himself reckons he knows why he's had an easier ride than almost any manager who has ever presided over a similarly dismal relegation.
In quotes in the Evening Chronicle, Moyes reckons it's ingrained into Sunderland fans to support their team, no matter what:
It's the same supporters who've been in this position in previous years and maybe in poorer positions than this.
Whether it really has been worse than this is recent memory is debatable, but he carries on with no apparent intent to sound patronising...
I'd say you support your team whether you win or lose, that's what good supporters do. Don't pick and choose.
Moyes believes it's the 'hardcore' who keep coming regardless of what's served up in front of them, who have ensured the Stadium of Light crowd hasn't voiced any displeasure toward him:
It's one of the reasons you come to Sunderland, because they do get 40,000 people. It might drop a little bit, it might go up but they've got a real hard-core support. Look at the supporters who follow us away. They don't do it because the club's winning or losing all the time, they follow their team.
And despite all the criticism voiced towards David Moyes away from the stadium and the slamming of his repetitive expectation-busting rhetoric, the man himself firmly believes the majority have bought in to his 'honesty':
I think the supporters have been brilliant, right from the start of the season they've been told and informed by the manager what we think it's like and they realise that there hasn't been quite as much money to spend this year than there has on the past. Overall, we've been clear and the fans have been great in the stadium.
It's a curious one to say the least.
Moyes urges Pickford to stay
Despite a strongly held suspicion that Jordan Pickford will be cashed-in in a mere matter of weeks to help debt-ridden Sunderland balance the books and rebuild a squad which will lose a sizeable portion of its first team upon relegation, David Moyes has suggested the young goalkeeper would be better served continuing his career progress at the Stadium of Light.
In quotes across the press this morning, the Sunderland manager - who will remain in charge in the Championship - has suggested the 22-year-old needs to simply keep playing games in order to stay on course to become Englands number 1 goalkeeper in the coming years:
What Jordan can't afford is a year when he's not playing. Whatever way you want to put that, I think that now it would be a backward step if he wasn't going to be a number one keeper.
Pickford has been linked with every one of the top-six in the Premier League and whilst it's difficult to forecast, he likely wouldn't be the starting goalkeeper at any of them come the beginning of next season as Moyes concurs:
I don't think it would do him any good at all if he was to spend a season as a number two.
The Washington-born stopper himself admitted recently he would need top-flight football to fulfil his own ambitions.
But with a probable fifteen years ahead in his career, the England 'keeper's progress has already been accelerated simply by getting game time under his belt, be it from loan spells at the likes of Bradford City and Preston or being repeatedly fired at in the Premier League for Sunderland this season.
That said, Moyes is no fool. Outlining a reluctance to sell his prized goalkeeper who is under contract at the Stadium of Light until 2020 can only add to his value. On the verge of the England team and nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, Sunderland's resolve will be tested to the limited shortly once the bids come flooding in for Jordan Pickford.