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Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg

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Opinion: “KLD puts pressure on himself with LJ decision - was it the right one for the club?”

The young billionaire heir has made his first big call after taking control of Sunderland AFC. But will it pay off for him?

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Well, there you have it. Whether it was Ellis Short, Donald and co, or Kyril Louis Dreyfus, the Sunderland way has struck again. Lee Johnson has become the latest manager to have himself shipped off by the club.

Another one bites the dust...

Despite coming on the back of one of Sunderland’s biggest defeats ever in their football league history, it still was somewhat of a surprise to see Johnson losing his job. The Bolton performance was horrendous. It was more than horrendous. The lack of passion and general appetite for application by the players was abhorrent and inexcusable.

I have heard people saying that losing 6-0 in League 1 is unacceptable. Quite frankly, losing 6-0 in any sort of football match should not be tolerated.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dreyfus clearly thought the same. It appears he was finally fed up of the continuing theme of Sunderland shipping heavy defeats away from home. We all know, this was not in isolation. There was the wet afternoon in Fratton Park, the turbulent Tuesday in Hillsborough or the Halloween horror show at Rotherham. Unacceptable and undeniable.

Very obviously, it would be wrong of me to draw too many more conclusions from Saturday’s defeat than it being the final straw for the ownership. However, why does something irk me to think that we may have made the wrong decision?

Was it a knee-jerk reaction? Did the fans have an influence? Is there more to this that we don't know about? Did Lee Johnson really want Defoe? All valid questions.

Perspective is important. The club are still third in the table. Some of the football played this season has been some of the best the fans have seen in the Stadium of Light. The academy products introduced by Johnson are integral to our side. We won a final at Wembley under his stewardship.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Lee Johnson has done an awful lot of good at the club. Despite his failings, which there was a few, they were still well within reach of making the automatics. Furthermore, the home form was one of the best in the league. As a friend pointed out to me yesterday, Sunderland have sacked managers for much worse than this. He actually lasted a long time,

So where did it all go wrong? It was clear to anyone who follows the club that Johnson has been under pressure for quite some time. Even when they were winning games over the last few weeks, there appeared to be this underlying tension bubbling under the surface.

At the matches, it was like a volcano ready to erupt. He always seemed to be one defeat away from criticism. Rightly or wrongly. Unfortunately, he was never going to win all the fans over. An issue all our managers appear to have.

That being said, it is noticable that Sunderland are making far too many unforced errors at the back. Away from home, they look soft, rudderless and devoid of leadership. They have been inconsistent. Dare I say the streaky tag continues to hold?

On balance, one could argue for both sides of the coin. Lee Johnson is certainly not the worst manager the club has had. He has however presided over some shocking defeats.

Kyril Louis Dreyfus has undoubtedly made the biggest call of his tenure at the club thus far. After backing the head coach with multiple new signings in the window, it was a brave, bold move to fire him.

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

The question is, who replaces him?

He now has the pressure of trying to find a suitable replacement. The names currently linked with the job would not excite nor entice the fans. One would hope many of these names get nowhere near the job. It’s the same names that appear for every new job. Swiftly, Neil Lennon and Mick McCarthy are becoming the new Alan Curbishley.

By deciding to sack the manager at this time, he must prove the decision is the right one. He has appeased many fans by deciding to do this. It is now imperative that the person brought in is the right man. Otherwise, it will look extremely knee-jerk and reactive.

The sacking of managers at this club has become too frequent. It is becoming more of a feature than a bug. The Sunderland owner has made a big call. It was decisive and brave. It remains to be seen whether it was the right one.

If a new manager doesn't bring more life out of this squad and we fail to get promoted, it is hard to imagine the consequences of what comes after.

Only time will tell.


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