Dear Gus: An open letter to Sunderland manager Poyet

Subject: Dear Gus: An open letter to Sunderland manager Poyet
From: Simon Bird
Date: 24 Feb 2015
Sunderland manager Poyet

Dear Gus,
I remember my first experience of the Stadium of Light. It was the magnificent Niall Quinn-Kevin Phillips era.
Sunderland steamrollered teams with their high-energy, passionate football under Peter Reid.
One year they were in second place in January and had a showdown with leaders Manchester United.
The noise, the anticipation, the hope. It was the high watermark of the modern era on Wearside. But that’s “living in the past”, like you said.
Living in the present has become painful. This season, watching Sunderland is a drag.

Two home league wins means that usually I walk away from the Stadium of Light drained of inspiration, ­frustrated, with an empty feeling. And I get paid to watch.

This was your eighth 0-0 draw of the season. Your team have failed to score in 14 games this season.

The football is awful. But forgive me for getting fed up with the misplaced passes and witless attempts to break down the opposition defence. I know you want me to be patient.

Small positives can be taken from this match. The 11th clean sheet of the season earned a point. ­Sunderland ­dominated possession, had lots of corners and a few chances.

“A game for experience, players who are 30...” you rightly said, but some sort of flair will be needed to avoid the drop.
The players seem to be on your side. As Lee Cattermole said: “It was only a year and a half ago that we had a big carry on at the club,” he said, ­referring to Paolo Di Canio’s turbulent reign.

“Change doesn’t happen overnight. You have to get players in and out. You have to be patient in football.

“The manager sent his letter last week and I think he is doing a good job.”

Against West Brom, refereeing decisions cost your side a goal.

Adam Johnson wasn’t offside when he collected a Ricky Alvarez cross and scored.
It didn’t help the entertainment levels that Albion came for a point and shut up shop, meaning they have only lost one in nine since Tony Pulis took over.

You will have noticed how patient the Stadium of Light crowd stayed. That 40,000 turn up ­consistently, is a marvel.

What they need now is a manager who can throw off the caution and get his side scoring goals, whipping in crosses and scaring defences.

Gus, prove you should stay in the job next season. Show you can win friends, inspire the fans and create a team to be proud of. Good luck.


Simon Bird, age 43 1/4