Ex-Sunderland manager Gus Poyet joined us on the Roker Rapport Podcast this week to talk with our host Connor Bromley about his time at the club.
The podcast with the Uruguayan is coming soon but, while we wait for it to be released, we will provide a snippet of what’s to come.
During the discussion, Poyet is asked whether he was happy with the transfer window conducted before the 2014-15 season, in reply he talked in length about the problems surrounding the club, how the club was reluctant to change and talked more about his quote at the end of a 1-0 home defeat to Everton:
There’s something wrong in the football club and it’s not an excuse. I need to find what it is. If I don’t, we’ve got a problem. I’d like to think I know what it is, but I don’t.
It was a strange window because it was late, I didn’t like it.
I always believe, and I still believe, and I try to say to everyone that I work with, if you do your job very good in the summer, the season after is very easy. If you do it good in the summer, maybe it’s alright but if you don’t do your job right in the summer, you’re going to pay the price.
I think we were too slow, you know when you want to do things in a certain way, too dramatically without having flexibility, without trying to be more clear.
Like I said, in May when we signed the new contract, I was convinced that we had much, much power if you can say to change things at the club than I did have in the second year.
This is not a criticism because it’s not my club, the one who makes the decisions about who does what is the chairman and then the CEO and then the sporting director and then the manager, no?
You have to obey the message from the top but in football the only way to earn that power is showing and I thought after the season we had, like I had earned some of that possibility, unfortunately I was wrong.
Little things changed at the club, apart from the sporting director, mentally the same, same way of playing, same way of bringing the players, same way in the second team, same way in the academy and the same people at the club.
Too many things that were the same. The only thing the club were doing was another season, you know, no learning from the past, no trying to change things that I want you to change.
Listen, I repeat, whoever is listening to me, I put myself on the other side, so I’m not trying to say my way. I understand that the club have responsibilities and doing the way they want to do it, I don’t know if what I am saying to you will work.
I promise you, that you will not need one, I can promise you that because I know because we done it. The problem is that when you still believe that the situation is easier and you’re going to bring in players and you’re going to change managers and you’re going to get safe because, when I left, in comes Dick Advocaat and everyone gets in love with Dick Advocaat because they got safe and they convince his wife to stay and we love him to pieces but after eight games in the following season, everyone wants him out. So where was the love for him and his wife? Gone.
Then Sam Allardyce arrives, saves the club and goes to the national team and then you get David Moyes, which is a proven manager in the Premier League and you go down, so that’s showing you that what I said after the game at Everton that you told me earlier was the truth but unfortunately when somebody says the truth to people, they don’t like it, simple as that.
It’s not difficult. People prefer me to lie and tell you how good you are than to tell you the truth. It’s incredible that things need to go back for me, or whoever tells the truth, to tell what is working.
When Niall Quinn was the manager, if I remember wrong he says something about “gremlins”, no? We have gremlins coming from the club, it’s exactly what I said but with different words.
He criticised me for saying there is something wrong at the club because he was out but when he was in, there were gremlins, so that shows that Niall is trying to be politically correct, trying to be nice when it suits him and when it doesn’t suit him, when he’s in charge and he cannot win a football game, there are gremlins.
I’m not. I’m telling you something, the same thing when I am there and when I’m not there. There was something wrong at the club and you paid the price and I told you a year later and I told when you went down and I told you in the Championship and I told you after seeing the series Sunderland ‘Til I Die, the first one was incredibly emotional for me.
Absolutely emotional, it was magnificent, it was class. It showed exactly what the club is and what it means to the fans of Sunderland.
The second one was acting, it was an acting role. It was like watching an American series and unfortunately that’s the problem, that the most important thing in a football club is what happens on the pitch, so you need a mix between the players and the fans.
Obviously the manager needs to pick the players because he’s the one that leads every day, you can be very nice and say that the fans are the most important. The situation is as much important as each other, you cannot have a club only with fans and you cannot have a club only with players, simple.
The rest will pass, will pass by, how many managers have passed by? Hundreds? The fans are still there, no? So when somebody is still there all the time, that’s important.
Then when you are a manager, you depend on the players, I think the fans need to realise that they also depend on the players. I’m sure most of the fans would love to play but because you cannot play, whatever happens on the pitch is why you get the happiness or the sadness, so the players are your most valuable thing and that’s not a thing that we believe or still don’t believe in Sunderland.
They are still believing that it’s more important for fitness, or the mental side, or the organisation, or the CEO, or the owner, or the chairman. No gentleman, no. You know who plays the game, who makes people happy? Players.
Then fans are there all the time and it doesn’t matter in which division, so the relationship between the fans and the players needs to be spot on, the strongest that you can get and, when both are honest with each other, there is only way. You will have consistency because you will have an understanding and a commitment and during the time that you don’t do that, bad things happen like what happened to Sunderland. It happened to Leeds in the past, no?
That’s the situation, it’s not difficult. When I said it before, I was crazy, I was going against everybody, I was blaming everybody. I’m not blaming anybody because the only one who paid the price was me. Getting sacked, yeah you get paid but at the end of the day you get sacked and it’s not nice. It’s one of the lower moments in your career when you get sacked because you want to prove that you are the right person there.
Now it didn’t work, a hundred excuses but I am not going to say it to you because I don’t like excuses, what I like is when I say things before they happen, simple, and with the things that I said that would happen before they happened, there is no way you can try to go back and try to challenge that. Now I would like people to go back to when I say the things and tell me the truth about how they felt about my words.
That’s the problem at that time, to go against someone is very easy but we’ve been in football and I’ve been inside football clubs and sometimes you know certain things that need to work in a way for a football club to work and unfortunately they were not the right things at Sunderland.
You can listen to the entire interview with Gus Poyet for free by subscribing to Roker Rapport podcast on iTunes, Acast, Spotify or YouTube and by following us on our social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.