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With Tony Mowbray’s reign at Sunderland now resigned to the history books, a new chapter at this silly football club has begun. Whilst our new head coach won’t be as much of a menace to the chocolate aisles of local supermarkets, he does bring with him an attitude which - even at this early stage - couldn’t be further from that of his predecessor.
Sunderland’s appointment of Michael Beale as head coach has resulted in overwhelming levels of criticism from the fanbase. The way he left previous managerial roles has soured his arrival on Wearside, and lots of the criticism seems to stem from his personality and attitude.
Fans have taken to social media to share hashtags and graphics showing their hatred towards a head coach who has barely had two minutes in the role - with a lot of this taking place before he’d even been confirmed. Of course, everyone has a right to be able to do this, but to do so in such numbers following links from journalists just seemed excessive.
He has instantly been labeled as ‘arrogant’ and ‘smug’, and in my early thoughts on his career so far all I can think is that this is getting in the way of seeing where he has coached. Having Liverpool, Chelsea, and Rangers on your CV as well as high praise from Steven Gerrard and World Cup winner Emi Martinez must stand for something - arrogant or otherwise.
This criticism of Beale for his personality seems harsh, and I dare say that had he not been following Tony Mowbray into the Sunderland hot seat his personality might not have been examined so closely - but that is neither the fault of Beale or Mogga.
No Sunderland manager in my lifetime has been so openly a nice guy than Tony Mowbray. His easygoing nature and often blase approach to football was a help and a hindrance in equal measure at times. How many managers in world football are brought sweets by the local media before the start of a press conference? It was an interesting relationship that Mogga had with them and one which perhaps didn’t help when the more important questions needed to be asked.
Mowbray being from the North East had a huge part to play in how he was taken in by the fans. We’ve rarely had a boss who is from the area, and the perhaps unique experience combined with his good nature and frank attitude to the game helped him a great deal in forging off-the-pitch relationships.
Michael Beale has already been written off by many Sunderland fans, and lots of supporters may never come around to him. Yet he’s at the club to coach players - a job which he has a proven good record at doing in the past at some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
We’ve not appointed him to be our new best mate, he’s come in to work with a good group of young players and he’ll have the support of a coaching team that has done itself no harm in recent weeks. If he hits the ground running and irons out some of the issues we’ve had in terms of tactics and style this season, the complaints will soon melt away.