Opinion: Time to sack David Moyes; One final chance to save Sunderland & Apt to bin him after Everton


Defeat at Everton was never in question. Defeat against Manchester City next week is a given. Sunderland have one final chance to change managers and save what has become a season of sleepwalking to relegation.

Sunderland weren't desperately bad as a collective at Goodison Park though individual performances left plenty to be desired. And it's testament to how poor David Moyes' relegation rivals are that his side remain in touch with the safety zone - just. But enough is enough. 

With Hull City and Crystal Palace demonstrating a fresh ability to pick up points, Sunderland are likely to be well adrift by this time next week when defeat inevitably follows at home to Manchester City. 

All the rest of the bottom six have opportunities to gather results next weekend to make it worse. Leicester host Hull so one of them will get something from that game, Middlesbrough visit Stoke, Swansea have Burnley at home and Palace travel to West Brom. All at least have the potential to acquire points - all except Sunderland. 

The gap to safety is already three points, by the final whistle next weekend it will be more. Following the visit of Manchester City, Sunderland have a fortnight break before a home game with Burnley which will be a desperate must-win game. Then follows matches with Watford and Leicester in what will be a season-defining sequence. Would you trust David Moyes to gather the bare minimum of two wins from those three?

Moyes will tell you that 'new manager bounces' don't work. He said so on Friday. But just ask Swansea or Hull supporters, and they will argue something entirely different. There might even be a belated one about to start at Crystal Palace. Sunderland must give themselves a chance of Premier League survival now and repeat Ellis Short's sole skill in football - timing the sack just right to rescue a few points, some pride and possibly Premier League status. 

Because this Moyes side can't fashion a win, and where they can't fashion a win they can't fashion a draw. Crystal Palace were either really bad - or more likely the game was an entire fluke. The Sunderland manager is seemingly incapable of setting his side up, or getting his side up to find much from games. There's no edge, no pace, no power, no fluidity - just muddling about and pedestrian, laboured football.

It isn't even just the football - it's now everything about the club. David Moyes and Martin Bain as a two-headed duo inhabiting each other's pockets have conspired to cast a dark cloud over the Stadium of Light which can't be shifted. Not even the 90-minutes once a week has any chance of lifting the gloom. It might not be their fault - entirely - but they really do revel in the misery of it all. 

Redundancies were announced this week, oblivious to the PR disaster that was the news leaking out as the players unpacked their suitcases from a mini-break to America. Bain released a statement packed with business-babble that took mortal men three read-throughs to understand, but which extolled the virtues of putting ninety people at risk of losing their job and having them scrap it out for forty posts at the end of the season. 

Moyes subsequently defended 'Martin' and claimed none of this was linked to imminent relegation from the Premier League. And it might not be - but it feels like it is. And it feels like it's linked to the New York trip and it feels like it's linked to Joleon Lescott's take-home pay from sitting on the Sunderland bench for a few months. And how it feels, and how it looks, is all that matters right now. 

Sunderland will lose to Manchester City next weekend and will then have to win at least five games from the remaining twelve. It isn't going to happen with him in charge. Impossible. Men who believe themselves safe from the sack - as Moyes does - usually have a swagger and an insufferable air of self-belief about them; this one just looks dead, going through the motions, just like the players he waves onto the pitch every week.  

Whatever he was at Everton, the club he returned to yesterday, he clearly isn't now. He hasn't been the right man at this club either and the much needed stability in the Stadium of Light hotseat will have to be built by someone else. 'Stability' won't be much consolation sat in the Championship next season - 'yeh the football isn't up to much, but just look how stable we are'. And we can't afford to pay him off either, but perhaps he'll agree to some favourable terms to jettison himself out of here.   

Sunderland now have just two more games before April - an ideal situation for a new man to try something. Give a new manager the City dead-rubber to get to know his players then the rest of month to work on this unbalanced, punch-lacking squad. It has to be worth a go.  

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