After almost two managerless weeks, two horrific defeats and two men in charge who were completely unsuited for the job, we have a new manager. And it is not Roy Keane. Alex Neil has been given the job to lead the basket case of a club that is Sunderland AFC.
In the eyes of most fans, this may come as a little bit of a disappointment. Not because of his managerial credentials (which aren’t so bad) but because it is not a grey-haired, grizzly angry Irishman. Let's be honest, the almost universal clamour to give the job to Roy Keane was based on emotion and the nostalgic feeling of bringing some good times back.
Much like the Defoe signing.
I wrote this week questioning the long-term vision of the club if Keane had got the job. His appointment would have raised more questions than answers. He is not a coach, he is a motivator and it would have inevitably ended in tears leaving the club back at square one.
Make no mistake, the club have a lot to answer for. Kyril Louis-Dreyfus showed a lot of naivety in this process. It is completely unacceptable and downright bad business to have your owner ‘liking’ posts on social media that are suggesting links with a candidate for a job. In any walk of life, this looks completely unprofessional and will not win him any plaudits.
Furthermore, Kristjaan Speakman would do well to stay off any podcasts and radio shows over the next couple of weeks. This saga has portrayed him poorly and it raises questions as to what they were doing after Lee Johnson was sacked.
It appears that Johnson was sacked without any plan and they arrogantly expected they could bide their time with the appointment. Quite frankly, this was utterly wrong and it cost Sunderland six valuable points, and possibly any shot of automatic promotion.
The appointment of Neil brings the matter to a close. It allows us all to focus on the important matter of trying to escape this wretched league. From my perspective, the atmosphere has been far too toxic and negative around this club lately.
This needs to change. The fans have a responsibility in this too. We are the ones who can create the atmosphere for the team. A positive one. It is clear – the players are completely deprived of confidence and self-belief at present. It is on the floor. For the 1000 of us there on Saturday, let's maintain the vibe positive for the team.
Alex Neil’s pedigree has proven he can get teams promoted. He has done it at Hamilton and Norwich. It says a lot about a manager that his former teams are giving him a glowing assessment. Pundits and journalists are giving him a glowing report. Let's get behind him.
With a new era beginning, it is important for us to focus on the team and matters on the pitch. While it is going to be a tough ask, promotion is still on the cards. One would hope the new manager will give the place a lift and we can build momentum from there.
Surely we are owed a little bit of fortune?
First up, a team in worse form than us, AFC Wimbledon. Let's give our new manager a raucous welcome and build some positivity.