It’s so tragic what’s going on at Sunderland at the minute. Especially for me, thinking that I left that club after saving them from a relegation fight.
The fight for me in my time at the club was trying to convince the owner this really couldn’t happen again.
It was the fifth time they’d been in that position and, in my experience over many, many years as a manager, it was me trying to say that a relegation fight shouldn’t be happening again. But before I got the chance to put that into action, I’d obviously left.
Honestly, when David Moyes came in after me, I genuinely thought he could carry it on. He’s a good friend of mine and a great manager. But, unfortunately, right from when he came in, things didn’t go well. Sunderland have never recovered from that.
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) November 5, 2017
To get Sunderland back into a fit state, the club needs to be sold. I think Ellis Short was fine while I was there, but it’s obvious he’s had enough. He’s pumped so much money into the club and I don’t believe he wants to risk any more of his cash.
They find themselves at the wrong end of the Championship table, they’ve sacked another manager – Simon Grayson – but the rot had set in at Sunderland and it’s very difficult to manage a club when they’re in that position. It’s even harder to overcome it and get a team back into the right direction.
So maybe, at this stage, a new owner is what’s left to change and should get them back on the right track at this period in the club’s history.
The way they’re going at the minute, they’re dangerously close to being relegated again. When you saw what Simon did with Preston North End, and on a very limited budget, it was obviously good business by the owner to bring him in.
He showed at Preston that he was more than capable of working on very little funds and still having success with a team.
Unfortunately, the fall-out of being relegated, which I experienced at West Ham, leaves the club in a very difficult position.
Those lads will be scarred mentally, they’ll obviously want to leave and there’s cut backs, redundancies and sackings which follow.
That’s tough on everyone, and it makes it almost impossible to get the right mood and spirit back into the club. I’m not sure how they’ll do it, but I really hope they do.