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Tony Mowbray’s departure from Sunderland seemed inevitable, but it’s a sad loss!

“After a recent disappointing run of form Mowbray’s departure seemed an inevitable one, but it’s a sad loss for the club after the memories that he provided,” writes Finlay Anderson.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

And so, there goes another manager.

After Saturday’s draw with Millwall, it was becoming clearer that the writing was perhaps on the wall for Mowbray and his future at the club, but his departure, this soon, was not one that a lot of Sunderland supporters saw coming.

After the 3-1 victory over Norwich at the end of October, it was appearing as though we were emerging from a frustrating run of three straight defeats, and as we headed into November’s international break, all was looking up again.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Victory over Birmingham had us sitting in the play-off positions heading into that break, and so Mowbray’s job was at more ease than it was only weeks previous.

However, perhaps in the goalless draw with Swansea, the signs were still there.

25 shots and no goals.

It was the issue that ultimately was the catalyst to his downfall that was confirmed on Monday night.

Over recent weeks, it just hasn’t clicked, as a run of three without a win, combined with a large shots-to-goal ratio, has sealed Mowbray’s fate.

Luton Town v Sunderland: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

And it’s a sad, sad loss for the football club.

Personally, Mowbray continued the feel-good factor that Alex Neil had instilled in the Wembley win in the summer of 2022, and added his own personal stamp onto our team.

The freedom that he gave our young squad proved the thorn for many teams last season, as we remarkably made our way into the play-offs.

He provided memories that will stay with supporters forever. Preston on the final day of last season is one that will remain with me: the lack of expectation on the first whistle, the sudden drama unfolding elsewhere, and a clinical second-half performance in the Preston rain that confirmed our fate.

Preston North End v Sunderland: Sky Bet Championship Photo by Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Luton in the first leg of the play-offs is another, as well as Southampton at home this campaign, and the very start of the Mowbray reign back in that win against Reading.

And, even off the pitch, he has been one of the most down-to-earth, and generally warming, Sunderland managers that we’ve had at the club in recent times.

He will be a big miss, but clearly, it’s the results on the pitch that matter the most, and the ambitions of the club have signalled that the recent run has been not good enough.

However, this young side has been one that has matured and transitioned into a very capable Championship one under Mowbray’s guidance, and so everyone will be grateful for what he has provided to this football club.

But, in pushing us to that next stage, the board clearly feels as though he is just not that man.

Millwall v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dylan Hepworth/MB Media/Getty Images

Post-match comments on Saturday relating to his striker issues pointed that, perhaps, it was only a matter of time, and so the announcement seemed more of an inevitability.

Naturally, maybe many supporters thought he may have been given a bit more time. Indeed, the club are only three points off the play-off places, and have two home matches (yes, against very tough opposition) to come to recapture some form heading into the festive period.

But, in the end, the decision to terminate Mowbray’s contract was reached, and despite all of the inevitability relating to his departure, for me, it’s a really sad one.

He provided one of the most enjoyable seasons that I’ve ever had supporting this football club, and has undoubtedly played the best football that I’ve seen us play.

But now, all eyes will be on who is next.


Pause for thought


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