Sunderland as a football club has been shook to the core. The initial rattle started in excitement as Paolo Di Canio replaced Martin O’Neill professing promises of new ideals focused around strict discipline and flowing football. The rattles became more and more vigorous during the Italian’s tenure before descending into a chaotic earthquake after recent revelations. Di Canio sacked, player revolts – we are a laughing stock.
It is time for the club to regain some stability and dignity. This to me indicates the only logical replacement readily available is right under our noses – our new caretaker boss Kevin Ball.
A man of integrity, mindful of his actions, a leader and a man who can represent the true ethos of this damaged football club. He is the comforting familiar face that our players and fans need to repair the tears after PDC’s destructive exit. Strong yet soothing, he combines all the necessary qualities we need in a new manager. Our club cannot handle another Di Canio, or even a milder overhaul. Things must calm down.
Roberto Di Matteo was quickly touted and would be a very justifiable appointment. He would bring a degree of pedigree to the role, but why would he take the job? Tony Pulis rumours have been widely met with discontent and surely would be sign of a club with zero ambition should he be the man we turn to.
I am convinced the need for a familiar face and deft touch is vital for the short term to lick our gaping wounds. This man must be gentle yet an intimidating giant to appease the frail and complex characters littered amongst our senior squad – without giving them the free reign they were allowed under O’Neill.
Ball may not be the experienced head many may justifiably yearn for, but I firmly believe he is the character to get us out of this mess. The importance of his lack of experience is lessened somewhat by the club’s new structure in that his role would almost exclusively be what he already does with our youth teams – just on a bigger stage, with bigger egos. Unlike Ricky Sbragia, Ball is a manager and leader. He has served the club tirelessly without qualms for over a decade – he is more Sunderland than anyone else we could possibly have in charge.
You can’t even consider his ten game spell as caretaker manager in 2006, such was the state of our squad and season – never mind that he would have learned a lot in the last seven years.
Give Bally until Christmas. If all goes well, give him until the end of the season and a permanent contract afterwards if warranted. If nothing else it will give Ellis Short time to determine the right man in the long run and cool down the raging club we have become. There are some good players at this football club – settle things down and they will shine.