Q: Jack Ross in, or Jack Ross out, and why?
Phil West says...
As a percentage I’m currently hovering at around 65% in, and 35% out, and that figure may well change depending on what happens over the next two to three weeks.
There is no doubt that he’s swimming against the tide right now, both in terms of supporter unrest and on-field results. I have no doubts that he is trying his very best, but it does feel as though something is lacking.
That being said, I would not be so keen to see his services dispensed of. For all we know, by the end of August, more signings may have been completed, results might have picked up, and we could find ourselves in a stronger position.
What worries me, however, is that regardless of what may happen in the short-term the doubts as to whether he is the right man for the job long-term are unlikely to fade, and when that happens it usually only ends one way.
Saturday’s game is looming large and it will be pivotal. Negotiate the test of Portsmouth at home with a win and we may be able to dig out a good run on the back of it. Lose, and badly, and it’s difficult to see a way back for Ross.
Craig Davies says...
Jack Ross sympathisers are right - it’s insane if you simply wanted to sack a manager after two draws in the opening seven days of a new season.
In terms of a long and arduous season, with all manner of unforeseen pitfalls, the first two results in any other season would be relatively meaningless when compared to the marathon of a 10 month campaign.... BUT.
This is not a usual start to any random season. From the moment Maja’s agent realised pimping his client out would be great for his bank balance rather than his client’s career, Jack Ross’s post-Maja year has been “an annus horribilus,” as the Queen would say.
He inherited an academy graduate he’d likely never heard of, who squeezed into the team by default after Wyke’s injury. Brilliantly, Maja went on a purple-patch inspired rampage and Ross looked like he’d found the key to it all. Sadly, after Maja flip-flopped his way out of town, Ross’s master stroke began to look more like a stroke of luck.
Tired, predictable football ensued. Signings that failed to sparkle came, and we ultimately concluded in a rather depressing 5th place despite being first in all the beneficial areas.
Biggest budget, biggest squad, record attendances, best training complex and the goodwill of a people desperate for change. Despite all of those amazing advantages, he withdrew into a cautious shell and rarely ventured out.
The season deflated like a sad balloon.
So, the lack of wriggle room he now feels strangled by is not fan-driven, but Jack Ross created. Therefore, it’s not the same as any other start to any other season - especially if the match play shows stagnation rather than ascendance.
But I don’t call for his head lightly, nor immediately. For me personally he has to get to November and given the leeway to magically pull it all together or see it all dwindle to the point of his own no return. That would give any new manager a month to prepare for the January window.
So for me, he stays. For now. Just.
Chris Sparks says...
Whilst results and performances have been far from acceptable since more or less the turn of the year, it is important to remember that we are a League One side with League One players and a most evidently a League One manager.
We came within two kicks of the ball from winning the EFL Trophy and the Play-Offs last season, a last minute goal and a missed penalty meant our season was decided by the flip of a coin from one of success to one of deflation and disappointment. It’s clear to see that there is a hangover from last season, with most of the players looking like they have lead in their boots and a black cloud over their heads.
Jack Ross undoubtedly has some managerial ability from his time at St Mirren, but have we really seen anything to suggest he has the ability to take Sunderland back to where many think we belong? Bar a successful period at the start of the last campaign, Ross has failed to motivate and create a consistent and winning team. His deflating and soul destroying motivational speeches ring similar to the Moyes era; maybe it’s a Scottish thing. Whereas his defensive and negative tactics both home and away seems to indicate a weak mentality and lack of confidence in his sides ability to outplay and outscore teams in this league.
The team have been on a steady decline in 2019, and it is no surprise to see the unacceptable start to the new campaign and ultimately that falls on the manager’s head.
The change in formation has not worked as the Scot had hoped and yet again his recruitment has to be questioned. You would think that within the three transfer windows Ross has had that he would have a squad that are capable of playing in his preferred system of 3-5-2, yet we see a lopsided roster, overloaded with midfielders and sparse on full-backs for a system which relies largely on their wide players.
Again, this falls on the managers head and if this club is to gain promotion from the third tier then Ross must learn to adapt to his squads strengths rather than the other way around. However, you wonder if maybe it is too little, too late, with sections of the fan base questioning Ross and rumours of discontent among the squad.
This is Jack Ross’ squad that he has assembled over three windows and 12 months and I am yet to see any signs of progress. Morale and momentum are judge factors for a successful football club and sadly, under Ross, these two are on the decline. If Ross can’t address this quickly then I’ll likely end up placing my vote in the Ross out camp sooner rather than later.