Well, there it is. Just like that. The 2023-24 season has the feel of nothingness.
The train has gone off the tracks, the wheels have come off. Use any saying you like, but they all have the same meaning when it relates to the present predicament facing our stuttering football club.
Michael Beale’s appointment as the head coach of Sunderland AFC was a contentious one to begin with. The Londoner’s questionable record, along with his seemingly unflappable confidence with next to no substance behind it, was instantly at odds with the fans.
Beale arrived at the club confident that his vision was very much in line with the board, ensuring that a sense of fluidity and collective responsibility was being brought to the fore.
However, whatever he is doing off the pitch certainly isn’t transferring onto it.
After another monotonous, turgid display against Hull, one must seriously wonder if Beale was truly the one born with the gift of the gab to get through such an apparently ‘rigorous’ interview process.
The way he speaks in press conferences and before games is completely at odds with what we are witnessing on the pitch. Beale’s attempt to put his own stamp on things has seen the club’s style of play plummet into something last witnessed under Phil Parkinson.
For whatever reason, the free-flowing, energetic nature that this team played with under Tony Mowbray has completely evaporated.
Mowbray’s ability to structure a team in a somewhat decent defensive manner whilst also giving his players the freedom to express themselves is all the more appreciated since his departure, given it brought out the best in Amad and Jack Clarke.
Under Beale’s stewardship, the atmosphere around the club has turned toxic at a concerning rate. Fans’ voices aren’t being heard or listened to, which is extremely frustrating for us supporters.
The question of whether the board truly understands the fans will undoubtedly rise again. Beale’s style and mannerisms are more suitable for the set of Only Fools and Horses than a football club in the North East.
The connection between fans and management is basically non-existent, and it is my belief that whatever happens now, the Mick Beale experience is dead before it truly ever began.
Furthermore, while football is defined as a ‘results business’ by many, fans go to games looking to be entertained. They want to enjoy the experience and have a team they can be proud of. They want to make memories.
Currently, Michael Beale’s Sunderland has become almost unwatchable.
The lack of style of play in his earliest matches showed to me that we may have landed ourselves a coach who has charmed his way into this job.
Without some results, Beale will have a limited amount of time to save his job, given the football on the show has become unbearable to watch.
Under Tony Mowbray, going to the games was a fun-filled experience, but unfortunately under Mick Beale, it is fun-less.
For Beale and Sunderland, things must change quickly for the team to have any chance of sustaining a promotion push.
Eighteen games to go, Michael; otherwise, my digital season ticket may end up in a bin near you.
Bring back the fun!