Moyes to meet with Short
Sunderland boss David Moyes expects to meet with owner and chairman Ellis Short in the 'coming days' to thrash out his own future. And top of the agenda will be the question of whether the American billionaire has a vision for returning the relegated Black Cats back to the Premier League quickly.
After Saturday's defeat to Bournemouth rubber-stamped an inevitable return to second-tier football, Moyes said:
We have to put a plan in place and I have to look to see there's a strategy to get us bouncing back up. That will be key for me.
With the Short era devoid of strategic thinking and characterised by knee-jerk reactive short-term fixes - more often than not making the mess worse - most can be forgiven for suspecting there will be no such thing.
Moyes reputation lies in tatters with a relegation on his CV to top a demise which has seen failed stints at Manchester United and Real Sociedad, and the 54-year-old may feel he will have a better chance at rehabilitating his image away from the perma-crisis at the Stadium of Light.
That said, the Sunderland boss has been plotting for a summer overhaul for weeks if not months and has personally scouted targets suitable for Championship football. Any rebuilding project so far has been impossible due to continual crises as injuries and dismal transfer windows gave way to certain relegation as Moyes acknowledges:
When you come into a job, you use the word 'rebuilding' - and I don't think anyone should be changing that word now. But time doesn't always given you an opportunity to rebuild because you are judged on results automatically. I think most people are aware there is more to do - top to bottom.
As for Short, he will be acutely aware of the growing chatter about Moyes' future and have noted the sparse crowd which observed Sunderland's confirmed descent into the Championship.
Whether the clamour for the Scot to depart has now peaked remains to be seen. Most had anticipated Moyes would endure a vitriolic afternoon at the Stadium of Light on Saturday which was simply milder than expected until Bournemouth's late strike.
Either way with the club in an enormous mess, Sunderland do not have the luxury of time to sit and dwell over the manager's position for long.
Shearer on Sunderland mess
Speaking of the mess, Newcastle legend and BBC pundit Alan Shearer has been discussing the state of Sunderland in his column in The Sun.
Despite his position as Magpie hero and Mackem terrace hate-figure, the former striker is a high profile advocate for north east football and generally speaks sense.
On David Moyes, Shearer had this to say:
David Moyes must think he has run over black cats never mind just taken them down. What a terrible time he has had since leaving Everton - two sackings and now a relegation.
He has to take his share of the blame for what has happened on Wearside. His tone has been far too negative throughout.
But with mitigation, the Match of the Day pundit feels the scale of the task Moyes has faced already is now bigger then ever:
Of course, a net spend of around £25m on the squad since Moyes came in was never going to be enough for a club who only just stayed up last season. The players who have come in have just not been good enough.
And with Sunderland's detailed accounts due to be published sometime this week, the former Newcastle and England forward sees little to be posive about at the Stadium of Light:
The real fear is for the very future of the club. They have just announced they are £110m in debt and Ellis Short has been looking to sell the club for some time. Yet who in their right mind is going to buy it?
....what a desperate state of affairs.
O'Shea - I'd like to stay
Sunderland veteran John O'Shea says he wants to stay on at the club after his current deal expires this summer.
The skipper, who turned 36 yesterday, is one of eight players out of contract at the end of the season but reflecting on his five years at Sunderland, is full of praise for the club and the north east despite the current dismal situation, telling the Irish Times:
It's a great place and the people around the place, the club, the Sunderland family outside and inside, whether at the training ground or Black Cats House, the decency among the people is very special. It's definitely something I want to continue with, but it's not up to me.
O'Shea will have one eye on making the Irish World Cup squad next summer and believes he can play on, but he also acknowledges that relegation has been a constant spectre since he arrived at the club in 2011:
We have just scraped over the line a few times. It's not as if we've flown over it.
But the veteran of over 180 games in a Sunderland shirt believes the club can spring into life in the second-tier:
The one thing you see is the attitude of the fans, not just those here [at the Stadium of Light], but those who travel. If we can get the momentum going quickly in our favour, it will be very hard for Sunderland to be stopped.