Andrew Smithson says...
Now we have a new head coach sorted I hope everything can settle down a bit and the club is able to focus on games again.
It has been a costly couple of weeks but you never know with Sunderland and if we can pick up some momentum again automatic promotion isn’t completely out of the question.
As for Alex Neil, he obviously gets my full support - no matter what you think about how SAFC has handled the process he deserves to be given a chance. We will probably never get to know the full story on what has been going on anyway, but the quick turnaround since Thursday morning presumably means he was already in the reckoning and is happy to work within the current structure.
He is relatively young still but seems to have gained plenty of experience managing at a higher level already, and some of the things coming from fans of his former clubs seem highly encouraging; my one reservation at the moment is whether he can handle the expectation that comes with managing Sunderland in the position we find ourselves.
It can be a demanding job at the best of times but we are desperate to be promoted and that brings a lot of pressure on the head coach.
I don’t know if he will have experienced such a mood before, but from what I have read he can organise a defence and his sides play some decent football, so if he is in fact able to cope with the other parts of the job we could be laughing.
Jack Howe-Gingell says...
Despite my current bitterness towards the club for their handling of basically everything since Lee Johnson’s sacking, and the disappointment of the Roy Keane saga collapsing, Alex Neil was one of my higher choices prior to Keane’s name being mentioned.
I think you have to be realistic in League One - you’re not going get many “big names” dropping to this level, so to get someone with a Championship promotion on his CV could be seen as a coup.
He will have his work cut out with several players out of form and low on confidence. The team lacks cohesion and needs to get back to basics.
Neil will already have a target on his back with some due to the events of the last two weeks, so ideally he will hit the ground running and let’s face it, we need to get this season back on track regardless.
The write up from supporters of Norwich and Preston seem to be favourable, with plenty mentioning his tactical ability. We need something solid tactically as we currently look clueless on the pitch, as well as a raising of standards - perhaps Neil will be the solution.
Only time will tell but I’m just happy we’re probably getting the best available manager can, and hope it’s not too late for him to have an impact.
Mark Carrick says...
A few weeks ago, Lee Johnson’s Sunderland outplayed and outgunned a Sheffield Wednesday side that had put us to the sword at Hillsborough a few weeks earlier. The rise to the top of the table was a signal that Sunderland were serious contenders.
Fast forward another few weeks and Johnson’s team is battered by Bolton 6-0. The wheels came off and Johnson was sacked. It was imperative the club made the right choice of manager and build on the euphoric return of Defoe.
Time has been lost, points have been lost, and credibility lost by those running the club. The Keane saga threatened to plunge the club even deeper into the mire. Yet, by luck or judgement, the balance may be about to swing back.
In Alex Neil, Sunderland are about to appoint a loyal, committed, diligent coach who has tactical awareness and flexibility. Neil fits the Sunderland process in his desire to develop youth and play a pressing style of football. There feels a continuation, an upgrade even, on Lee Johnson’s time. Neil will love some of the players we have - he signed Pritchard for big money - and will certainly instill confidence into a lost side.
This could just be the appointment we need, if not the appointment hopes for these past days.
Michael Dunne says...
If Roy Keane's name wasn’t in the frame, Alex Neil would have been one of the few names that I actually would have been pleased with.
To a certain extent, we are delving into the unknown with whoever we get. Also, it can’t be any worse than the drivel that has been served up by our PE teachers lately.
Neil is a solid choice. He has experience of getting teams promoted, knows the leagues and will hopefully sort the defence out.
From what I have read today, he likes to play aggressive attacking football and has a good track record working with younger players. You can see why the board wanted him.
Fans are disappointed that Keane isn’t coming but it could well be a blessing in disguise. It says a lot about a manager that both his former teams in England still hold him in high regard.
Let’s get behind him and hope for the best!