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Opinion: “Welcome to Wearside, Mogga! Why Tony Mowbray is the man for the moment at Sunderland”

“Sunderland have acted swiftly to replace Alex Neil, and the incoming man is exactly what is needed,” writes Paddy Hollis as the club confirm the appointment of Tony Mowbray.

Photo by Rachel Holborn - BRFC/Getty Images

The appointment of former Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray will bring to an end what has been an utterly bizarre week-or-so at Sunderland.

It started a week gone Saturday as Alex Neil’s side earned a hard-fought 1-0 win down at Stoke City to move into the Championship playoff places - and one defeat in five had us looking very healthy.

Things looked, from the outset at least, to be positive. New signings were on the way and a team spirit that hadn’t been seen in a Sunderland camp for many years made it feel as though something exciting was being pieced together.

Stoke City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Yet just six days after the Stoke win, the realisation that our manager was going to join the side he’d just defeated dawned on Sunderland AFC.

From Friday into Saturday, Neil had his head turned and was down at the Bet365 Stadium to seemingly finalise a deal.

There was shock and bewilderment at why he would choose to join a club restrained by Financial Fair Play with just several days of the window left.

Fortunately, there was no messing about from the club to get a replacement lined up, and from the outset, there has only really been one man properly linked with the role.


Tony Mowbray may not be the most eye-catching name, and he isn’t the fresh exciting unknown manager many fans may have been hoping for, but he is in my opinion the man who we need at this exact point in the club’s fortunes.

Stability is key as we continue to feel our way through the early stages of this season - it was stability that we needed before the campaign got underway and what we, up until last week, looked to have under Neil.

Under Mowbray I feel we’ll have stability in abundance. He has a boatload of experience as a Championship manager and he knows how to keep teams in the division, and how to get them to kick on.

Blackburn Rovers v AFC Bournemouth - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

With Sunderland, he’ll have a mix of youth and experience; and the makings of a very decent side should the pieces be put in the right places.

This season was always going to be one of stability. Becoming an established side in the Championship is the next natural aim for a club promoted from the third tier.

A lot of this work has gone well, and our promising start to the season is proof that we can already compete in this higher division.

Under Mowbray and with a few additions between now and the end of the transfer window, I firmly believe we can keep this solid start going and continue to be a club that can compete in the Championship.

I stand by my viewpoint from watching that first match of the season - we’ll be absolutely fine.

There’ll be some bumps and scrapes along the way, but with an experienced head like Mowbray at the helm we’ll win more games than we lose this season - I’m sure of it.

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