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Positivity at Sunderland AFC is crumbling — and the hierarchy have themselves to blame

In just six weeks, Sunderland’s leadership has managed to transform a once-promising group of players heading in the right direction into a club that lacks enthusiasm, passion, and energy.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same holds true for a football club. Sunderland AFC underwent significant efforts to climb out of the challenging days in League One, and a genuinely positive atmosphere was beginning to emanate from the team.

However, in approximately six weeks, this positive momentum has been abruptly extinguished, with little explanation provided. The hierarchy of SAFC seems to have squandered nearly two years of hard work and preparation, creating a situation that could be studied in classes on ‘how not to run a football club.’

While the decision to sack Tony Mowbray made sense, especially if his replacement was someone not clearly out of their depth at the club, the reality is different. In just seven games under Michael Beale, our style of play has taken a complete u-turn from the fearless, attacking brand of football that had recently become the club’s blueprint.

The team, once proactive and filled with players exuding positivity and confidence, has now become fragile and lacking leadership. When the decision was made to remove Tony Mowbray, it was crucial for the ownership to get the next appointment right.

I would be interested to know the criteria that led to him becoming the Head Coach for us; the fact that he was unemployed was undoubtedly a significant factor in his favour.

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

The club has shattered the confidence of the fans off the pitch with a series of disastrous decisions. The marketing and ticketing aspects of the setup are a mess. We rolled out the red carpet for our bitter rivals on derby day and made a deeply unpopular head coach appointment that has rightly seen support fall off a cliff. Sunderland needed to get it right on the pitch, but four defeats in seven and too many flat, blunt displays are surely starting to back the club into a corner.

The hierarchy of the club is doing its utmost to lose supporters’ trust. In a matter of weeks, a once tight and respectable relationship with the fans who pay hard-earned cash to follow them across the land has been made a mockery of. I could almost live with becoming a laughing stock on the national stage, but those in charge are persisting with this, and it is genuinely starting to become baffling and creeping towards being offensive.

There is a disconnection between SAFC and its fanbase, the likes of which we’ve not seen since the Phil Parkinson days. Hell, at least we were always pretty entertaining to watch under Lee Johnson, not always for the right reasons, however. But in 2024, we should be looking to push on and build on what has been achieved. Instead, we are going to be counting the cost of a shocking head coach appointment, a group of players seemingly not on board, and a fan base feeling let down.

Michael Beale football is stagnant, boring, and lacks any real quality. The players look determined to go back straight away, and he sets us up to not lose.

Well, Mr Beale, it’s not fucking working.

Not getting playoffs this season wouldn’t have been the end of the world this season, but only if it felt like we at least competed and showed signs of progress. Can anyone seriously say this is possible now? If so, I seriously respect your faith.


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