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Reactions to Michael Beale’s appointment as Sunderland head coach

The former QPR and Rangers boss was confirmed as Tony Mowbray’s replacement after a two-week search. We asked our writers for their thoughts on the news

Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says...

As with any new head coach, I wish Michael Beale all the best.

He’ll have my support at the start and I assume that’ll be the case with most other fans, but there do appear to be quite a few reservations against the move and he’ll have to hit the ground running because of that.

I can’t say I know too much about him but based on what I’ve read over the last few days, I can understand some of the concerns.

Coaching-wise, there are a lot of people who have good things to say about him, but some of the stuff that’s being suggested about how he acts and behaves towards others is troubling and if true, it wouldn’t go down well at a club like ours.

We’ll soon find out for ourselves what sort of personality he is, and hopefully the club have already checked out whether he’s a good fit so it may not even be an issue.

Judging by the press release, Beale’s work at academy level has had a big impact on the decision to get him in.

That would make sense given the current profile of the squad and the attitude towards recruitment, and the latest couple of appointments have all improved the side, so you have to assume the hierarchy know what they’re doing.

It’s pleasing that the rest of the coaching staff will still be there to offer some continuity and to support him, and I hope Mike Dodds’ promotion will enable him to continue his own progression.

It was clear in recent games that he’d already spotted a couple of areas that could be improved on, and if Beale does the same, happy days.

He won’t need to rip everything up and start again.

He’s getting a side that just needs a few refinements and with the benefit of a full week on the training ground, it would be lovely to see some initial signs of that on Saturday against Coventry City.

Rangers FC v Aberdeen - Cinch Scottish Premiership Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images

Anthony Gair says...

Judging the response of social media, I feel that Sunderland fans are jumping the gun or following other people’s opinions before actually knowing what Beale is capable of.

Yes, it’s not an overwhelming appointment but we know that the underwhelming appointments are the best- see Tony Mowbray and Alex Neil for recent examples.

I feel that he’s been hired on the work he’s done as a coach. The minor miracles he performed at QPR granted him an opportunity he couldn’t turn down at Rangers, and it didn’t work out too well for him there.

He’d lost control and he couldn’t maintain a story with the media, making him look dishonest and incapable of handling the tougher personalities.

Our Sunderland side, filled with younger players and the odd elder statesmen, may well be better suited to Beale’s coaching style and if he’s as tactically minded as I hope he is, we’ll probably look more organised in the future.

I’m nonplussed but the way people have reacted seems ridiculous. I know I have a laugh on social media, but the vitriol towards the club regarding this is out of hand.

Good luck, Michael.

Jon Guy says…

I decided long ago that we don’t really know what goes on behind closed doors at the top end of the club, but what I’ll state from the outset is that the two head coaches they’ve appointed both left with the fans feeling sad at their departure.

I’ve previously said this needed to be the appointment to take us up and be capable of keeping us there, so is Beale the coach to do that?

He’s received a lot of praise as a coach, and while his managerial record is pretty grim, maybe Kristjaan Speakman and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus have a man who’s happy to hand recruitment to the people upstairs and concentrate on the football.

However, unless he has the guts to call things out if we’re going in the wrong direction, it has all the hallmarks of a real blunder, but it could also be a match made in heaven and we have to think and hope that he’s learned something from his miserable stint at Ibrox.

He has my backing as the only way we can judge him is by his actions in the coming weeks and months.

My fingers are crossed that Speakman will be proved right. We can only go with the cards we’ve been dealt and we have to hope Beale turns us into the ace of clubs rather than a joker.

Norwich City v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Jonny Hawley says...

I just don’t get the furore.

It’s not overly inspiring and I understand that it looks like we’ve picked a cheap option with an unproven track record in management, so I’m not expecting people to be jumping for joy at the news.

That said, is it really as offensive as people seem to think?

The way some people are carrying on, you’d think we’d given John Carver an eight-year deal with free rein to snap Jack Clarke’s legs in his first training session! He may not be the man to propel us to the Premier League, but he’s not nailed on to send us down, so why the anger?

The actual answer is probably a mixture of the lingering sentiment for Tony Mowbray and the disappointment at being linked with names like Will Still, only to end up with Beale.

It’s not sexy, it’s not exciting, and it’s not a foreigner with a slick haircut. It’s a bit boring, to be honest, but wouldn’t we take a fairly boring but very safe season consolidating somewhere from tenth or above?

Had Mowbray stayed and got us to eight or ninth by the end of the season, I don’t think the pitchforks would be being sharpened. Doesn’t Beale deserve a chance to at least get in the door before we start complaining that he’s not good enough?

I can’t pretend to know much about Rangers or QPR under him, and their fans haven’t much love for him, so I do worry about that following him here and alienating the players, the fans, or both.

However, he’s also highly respected as a first team coach having worked at some of the best clubs in this country, and if people were happy to see Mike Dodds maybe take the job, how is Beale any less qualified? He’s far more qualified, in reality.

Also, past results don’t determine future results.

Plenty of players and managers have rocked up at the Stadium of Light with awful reputations at other clubs. Huddersfield fans slated Alex Pritchard and Brighton fans hated Gus Poyet who took us to a Wembley final, but they’ve proven themselves here in spite of that.

Let’s wait and see.

Give him a chance to prove himself, and if you hate the appointment and expect him to fail, give him the rope and he’ll hang himself if you’re right. Otherwise, let’s see how he actually performs in the job, support the lads in the stadium, and hope the results prove the club right in the long run.

You know, the same things we do for every other managerial appointment!

Kyle Garrett says...

I’m going to say the same as I did when the question was asked about what we thought when Mowbray was announced and hope that it turns out in the same sort of way.

It’s underwhelming.

This was the board’s chance to show fans how much we’re advancing off the pitch, and some of the names we were linked with did show that. We held talks (apparently) with various managers who would’ve been perfect (probably).

They’ve chosen Beale and it’s a big gamble. He’s not exactly been well received so far, but we have to get behind him because he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Malc Dugdale says...

Although I get that people may have wanted something more ‘exciting’, I really don’t understand the fume I’m seeing from some quarters.

All of the rumoured applicants carried levels of risk, from the clutch of at least semi-unproven and emerging European talents to the likes of Steven Schumacher who’s been doing well with limited resources down at Plymouth.

I’m not sure if some fans were ever going to be happy unless we poached someone known and accepted as the new Klopp or Guardiola.

People need to accept that we may not be in a position to attract such options, as if they exist they’re likely waiting for more Premier League heads to fall for their chance at the next level up.

We can’t even get players right a lot of the time, and those of a certain age will remember Ally McCoist failing to succeed at Roker Park, only to become a legend of his time in Scotland. This stuff is very complicated and only time will tell if this appointment works or doesn’t.

The thing that winds me up most is the fact the bloke hasn’t even taken his coat off and he’s being branded as unwanted, disingenuous, and frankly not good enough.

If we were all treated like that after being successful in an interview process for a job we wanted, the working world would be a very odd place and the motivation to succeed in what we all do would be as rare as hen’s teeth.

This role is hard enough, so are we doing any good by making it harder for this lad? Aren’t we supposed to be supporters?

My preference is to see how he fits in and how he does during the next couple of months before applying any judgement.

It was apparent that we needed a coaching change and it was also clear after Bristol City that Mike Dodds can have the same issues as Tony Mowbray at times, albeit without the differences with the board.

We need fresh ideas and new blood that works with the owner and sporting director, and the recruitment process tells Dreyfus and his team that Beale apparently gives us that.

I’ll back this lad just as I’ve backed all coaches across my years as a fan.

He could be anything from a Peter Reid or Bob Stokoe to a Simon Grayson or Phil Parkinson (although hopefully nothing like a Laurie McMenemy), but it’s our job to back the club until we have reason to question any part of it.

I wish Beale all the best and I also hope that working alongside the newly-promoted Dodds, the team can kick on from two decent wins and really cement a top six berth during the coming months.

We’re still better off now than we were at this point last season, so let’s see if he can keep it that way, and worry if he can’t.

Mitch Marshall says...

I’m trying my best to resist the urge to fume about this appointment, but it isn’t working.

In the last decade or so, we’ve appointed some really iffy managers such as Paolo Di Canio, but I’ve looked at almost every one and have been able to see the thinking behind the appointment and two of the worst (David Moyes and Phil Parkinson) actually made some sense at the time.

Moyes had steered Everton away from being relegation candidates to perennial top half finishers before an ill-fated spell at Manchester United, and Parkinson was a seasoned League One manager who’d achieved promotion from that division previously.

It didn’t work for either of them at Sunderland, and maybe for obvious reasons in hindsight, but at least there was a certain logic behind taking them on.

With Beale, however, I’m really clutching at straws to find anything positive to say.

I’ve seen an interview with Emi Martinez saying he basically did Steven Gerrard’s job for him as well as a two-month purple patch with QPR (never mind how that ended), so I have to be honest and say that I can’t see myself having much patience with him if he doesn’t get off to a good start.

He comes across as a bit of a chancer; a decent coach on the training ground who talks a good game but has repeatedly failed to stay the course as a senior club-level manager. It all reeks of Lee Johnson.

We had an experienced and hugely popular head coach with a record of success at this level and at this club, so why get rid of him for someone who’s never been promoted or even managed a club for much more than six months without wandering off or being sacked?

Also, don’t get me started on the ‘high performance culture’ nonsense accompanying the announcement on social media – it’s as if they got Jake Humphrey to write it for his mate Will Still before we baulked at paying anything to get the man we really wanted.

To try and end on a tiny note of positivity, this is a big opportunity for Beale at a crossroads in his career.

He was once seen as a promising coach and he did a lot better with QPR than his successor did. Rangers, in contrast, are a unique club in terms of being less well funded than Celtic but expected to challenge them for trophies every year (which Gerrard himself struggled with at times).

If he can use that experience to improve as the head coach of a massive club with an expectant fan base, as well as a coach who talks well – which we have in Mike Dodds anyway – then perhaps we’ll be alright.

If not, I don’t think the club can say that we didn’t tell them so.

Bristol City v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

Underwhelming and uninspired.

Taking into account the appraisal of Beale from teams with lived experience of his managerial credentials, I’m not enthused in the slightest and it feels like this regime’s ‘Phil Parkinson moment.’

Of course, I’d enjoy nothing more than being proven wrong but I just can’t see that happening from where I stand.

For me, the Beale appointment is only going to go one way and I fear it may be one that not only isolates some of our players but also the fans from the board. My only hope is that by the time he leaves, we aren’t in too much of a state.

The club can fill their statements with as much bluster as they like, but being a good coach doesn’t always translate into being a good boss (anyone remember Paul Clement?) and despite his somewhat impressive win ratio at Rangers, Beale’s unceremonious departures from the only two clubs he’s ever managed paints a worrying picture.

I’d love to be wrong and eventually eating humble pie, but I’m fairly confident this one won’t see the summer.

Props to Doddsy, though - good raise, that!


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