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Speakman and Dreyfus have a terrible mistake in appointing Mick Beale - they must fix it, now

What on earth has our board managed to do in two short months? PR disasters and awful head coach appointments mean many are no longer on board.

Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Roker Report is a diverse group - in terms of footballing opinion anyway. You know when you put loads of hamsters in the same cage and they all rip each other apart? Well, you should see the group chat.

There’s one hamster who died long ago, such was the sustained nature of the continuous attacks by his fellow furry friends, but I won’t name him.

RIP Snuffles.

Perhaps one of the most divisive things over the last few years has been the healthy debate, which at times admittedly bordered on physical violence, over the decision to appoint Mick Beale as Sunderland head coach.

In the film Anchorman, there is a scene where multiple news teams from around the San Diego area meet up for what is termed a bilingual bloodfest. Kicking the living daylights out of each other, getting stabbed by a trident. being attacked by a bear, that sort of thing.

Well, this was a bit like that.

However - it wasn’t because there were two opposing views here. No, it wasn’t the Beale in and the I don’t want Beale in the first place camp. No, it was the we have to give him a chance brigade vs the who the f*ck is this character? he’s a total lame brain chancer team.

I was supporting the latter. Full on card carrying member. Why? Because it’s so bloody obvious.

And just like the bookies who pay out on something they feel is certain to happen, I am now putting my head above the parapet. I’m demanding that my bet is settled. Gimme the dosh.

Because this absolute horror show that has taken place in the last month has to end, now.

Tell me if I’m wrong here. I have watched, through the actions of a) the board and b) the head coach the following:

A club that has become a national joke from one of the biggest PR blunders you are ever likely to see. Much of course has been said about this and I will not go over old ground again, suffice to say our leadership has committed grave, and in truth unforgivable errors in their reading of a situation, and has treated its support as irrelevant schmucks that should be grateful for their continued custodianship of the club.

We’ve seen the dismissal of a head coach who has expressed serious misgivings about the strategy of his bosses. Fair enough, he didn’t want to align himself to the model. However, Neil expressed it and Beale has alluded to it subsequently - it isn’t working quite as it should be because it is too imbalanced. The questions over whether they are doing things on a much too slimmed down budget are getting louder. Do you want to sign young lads because they have potential... or are cheap... or both?

Birmingham City v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Then there’s what Mick Beale has managed to deliver during his time here.

Since he came through the door, we have seen a group of players who have significantly tailed off. They look flat, unmotivated and frankly pissed off at the fact a man who they liked was dismissed seemingly because the performances on the pitch weren’t up to standard and he felt the squad needed more experience. They look utterly alienated by a man who they clearly think isn’t up to standards.

I see a man who has come in with little experience, with no real right to be managing this club based on his past sojourns (one spectacular act of disloyalty, one mediocre short-lived tenure).

I see a man who had he not been available, wouldn’t have been anywhere near the appointment of head coach at this club.

I see negative football from a team that is doing the base level of what it can. Dan Neil passing sideways, Ballard heading balls, Jack Clarke looking all dribbly. Well f*ck me, Kristjaan, if that’s what you wanted I could have taken on the job for absolute buttons.

Yet this is someone who decided to play a centre back in Seelt as essentially the only outlet down the right hand side. On what planet is this the preferable course of action?

This means I see a team organised by a man who does not have the ability to implement a style of play that will achieve results.

I see a man unable to react to in-game setbacks.

I see when one team has 12 corners, the other one has one, I know which one would have made theirs count.

Sunderland v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

I see a side not switched on because they have no faith in their boss and as such they have lot their concentration and cutting edge. I saw this with Adil Aouchiche against Ipswich, I saw this on the Hull corner on Friday.

I see a man unable to read the tactics of the opposition and adapt accordingly.

I see talk of a high performance culture as being nothing of the sort. All I see is silly little phrases that will be held against you as soon as it becomes apparent it’s unachievable.

I see a man who hasn't just lost the dressing room, he never had it in the first place.

I see people who are in charge unable to see that this is their chance to push this club on, and are simply trying to untangle the barbed wire that envelopes this club by blowing it up a bit more.

I see a Championship Phil Parkinson situation. Hull City was our Burton at home.

I see a club going needlessly backwards through some stubborn desire to prove a point by the board, as well as a reticence to get the best person for the job by actually paying compensation to other clubs.

I see a board on borrowed time as it stands. No pleasure is derived from sayng that as it didn't have to be this way.

I also do not see this as being all lost. There is much to work with here. Talent courses through the changing rooms like a stick of Brighton rock. However it has to be harnessed and when a team does not respond to someone in charge so obviously as is happening right now - they have to go. Speakman, Dreyfus and co. need to admit a mistake was made. It was the wrong decision. They backed the wrong horse.

Beale hasn’t so much fallen at the first hurdle, but been involved in a crash on the M6 en route to the race meet. He’s then been hit by an articulated lorry coming in the opposite direction, therefore having to be put down on the hard shoulder somewhere near Charnock Richard services, due to compound fractures of all four of his limbs.

Sunderland v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

The message to our board should be this - do you want to risk failing to right the wrongs of late? Well, if so you devalue your best talent, you alienate the fans, you demotivate the players, you make yourselves way less marketable to future signings. Eventually, you go back to whence you came.

Sadly, to save pennies, the club has appointed a man who may well have been a great conduit between the team and a head coach - in his role as assistant head coach - but this is very different to being asked to step up to the main leadership role. He’s clearly not cut out for it.

This division works on small margins, and next season is looking a whole lot more uncomfortable right now that it really should. Instead of looking up, this is a club firmly looking down. Forget the playoffs or even the top half - let me tell you now, if Beale remains, Sunderland will be 14th at best, which is criminal given the ability in the squad.

Beale was never the right man for the job. This is a club which needs a proper, adult person at the helm. They would be able to deliver results. Mick is perhaps a lovely bloke who is just swell at interviews, but he amounts to no more than that.

If you have a problem with this? Think it’s knee jerk? It’s not - because my view is he should not have been appointed in the first place. It’s a stance that hasn’t changed one iota. I have held my line consistently from the off. This is not the view of someone who has turned on him, he was just never right for this gig.

This is a board already on notice from the supporters - sort it out now, or it might just start to get a whole lot more difficult. Starting with 10,000 off attendances next season.

Because really, would you want to watch that utter bobbins week in week out?

This is a club that is moving very fast from pre-crisis mode, to crisis mode.

Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Dave Howarth/PA Images via Getty Images


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