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How Secure is Steve Bruce’s Position at Sunderland?

After overseeing another defeat to their local rivals at the weekend, Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been the focus of some fairly angry rants from fans on forums and websites across the Internet. After the sizeable investment seen over the summer, another day of derby agony was not meant to be on the cards. It is now fair to say that there are serious calls from some sections of the fans for Bruce to go.

It is important to point out at this point out that Bruce will not be sacked. Chairman Niall Quinn and owner Ellis Short have shown far too much faith in him and handed so much money to him over the summer that they will not be rushing to get rid of him any time soon. But that does not mean that the pressure is not growing.

A key feature of the reign of Quinn at the Stadium of Light has been a deliberate attempt to re-engage with the fans who felt as if they had been betrayed and let down by the previous regime. If those same fans get restless then there could be repercussions for Bruce. However, the danger inherent in listening to fans is a simple and obvious one. Quite often fans are wrong.

Some of the criticism that I have seen of Bruce has been nothing short of ridiculous. Some are calling for him to be sacked, whilst some are accusing him of not caring about the club because he is Newcastle born. The truth of the matter is that the first weekend saw the club pick up a great point at Anfield and this could well have been followed up by a convincing win or Saturday if things had fallen their way in the final third. Sunderland looked by far the better footballing side especially in the first half. If one or two of the chances created had been converted then chances are Steve Bruce would be being lauded as a great manager and that the Sunderland fans would be getting carried away and talking of Europe already. As it is the message boards are buzzing with talk of who the club should look at as a replacement instead of looking at things with a bit of common sense.

Looking at the club in a balanced way, there are certainly more positives than negatives. The club has reinvested the money from the Darren Bent and Jordan Henderson sales wisely and is reported to still be looking at bolstering the left side of the team. The team has finished higher up the table for each of the last three seasons and there is no reason why another top ten finish can not be achieved.

Once again a club is faced with the difficult task of listening to what the fans want and doing what is best for the club. Very often these two are not the same thing.

What do you think of Sunderland’s prospects this season? Do you think that fans know what is right for their club?

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  1. James

    August 24, 2011 at 11:33 am

    The problems with Steve Bruce go back a long way. However, those problems aer simple; first he is unable to motivate a tream and second he is tactically inept. When things go wrong he cannot lift them, but fundementally he is incapable of changing a game. We are now lobbing hopeful balls up to buffoons like Gyan, while the Brighton keeper rolls the ball to his backs to play football. I predicted this situation last January, but was shouted down by “we are sixth top”. It is only hoped that Niall Quinn’s loyalty to his manager does not get in the way of his loyalty to the club and the fans.
    The fans are not fickle, but have been very patient. Bruce’s record is appaling and I don’t understand why he is still in charge.
    Ellis Short needs to be the sensible one.

  2. jeff

    August 24, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Sunderland’s squad is facing a problem of stability. Each summer, since his appointment, Steve Bruce goes out and buy 7 to 10 new players, loan 4 more and release/sell the same number. I dont know what’s the clubs strategy when it comes to transfers, but they seem to be willing to buy every available player on the market and then sell them or loan them the next year. Last year, the team lost their best striker Darren Bent and instead of buying an adequate replacement during january, he got 2 midfielders and relied on gyan and welbeck to score the goals, with the latter getting injured for several months leaving him with one striker, which was the main reason why the results have deteriorated during the 2nd part of the season. However, the weirdest part is that during the summer he didn’t buy any accomplished PL strikers but instead opted to buy an 18 years old championship striker for 12 million pound( who might be great but will need a couple of years to reach his potential) and a 20 years old korean kid. I really believe this should be his last chance to impress with the team and the board should start putting some pressure on him.

  3. Matt

    August 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Sunderland are in danger of becoming the new Charlton. They”ll spend a few years getting solid mid-table finishes then the fans’ll get bored and start demanding Europe so they’ll overspend, go bankrupt and free fall down the football league system.

  4. Jon Sharp

    August 23, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    We Blues supporters are very pleased that Hughton is managing in the Championship. With zero money to spend and the departure of most of the Carling Cup winning squad, he has nevertheless revitalised Blues’ style of play creating an entertaining attacking side out of Bosmans, loaners and youngsters. Hopefully he won’t be managing in the Championship for long!

    • Fernando

      August 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Hughton proved himself more then capable of lifting a team into promotion so Birmingham are lucky to have him. In addition he a good man who Newcastle supporters still respect.

      I too hope that Hughton can bring Birmingham back up.

  5. Terry Richardson

    August 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    “Steve Bruce would be being lauded as a great manager and that the Sunderland fans would be getting carried away and talking of Europe already” – No they wouldn’t burke. More to the point SAFC didn’t convert the two shots they had from outside the box and therfore lost, again. Thats one win at home this calender year and three humilations to thier supposedly in-crisis rivals. That and statistically the worst win ratio of any permanent manager Sunderland manager in the last 28 years bar McMenemy and Wilkinson. Sorry to be so fickle….

  6. AM

    August 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Considering they’ve nearly been knocked out of the Carling cup by Brighton …. I would say he’s going to be under a lot of pressure

  7. tomh

    August 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Bruce says he has strengthened the squad but he still plays alnost the same side as last year so he must not beleave he has strengthened it that much.
    some of the team are moderate

  8. dlink09

    August 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Sunderland bought lot of players this season compared to newcastle.. losing at home to your rival is always tricky.. Sunderland had good start last season and faded away.. I think if this season Bruce doesn’t get better results he will be out..

  9. Fernando

    August 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Steve Bruce is lucky to still be managing in the top flight of English football. When you compare him to David Moyes, who had no money to spend last year and finished ahead of Bruce’s club, you would say that he’s not in the same class.

    He’s lost more games then he’s won at Sunderland and overall in his career, he’s lost more as well. And yet, he is given more and more funds to bring players in. This summer alone, he’s brought in Man Utd exiles to shore up his squad.

    How a manager with a proven track record of mediocrity is still around and Chris Hughton is managing in the Championship is just astonishing.

    • Soccer Stop

      August 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      I agree that Chris Hughton should be in the Premier League and not in the Championship…it was honestly a very surprising sacking on Newcastle’s part.

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