Dick Advocaat’s resignation as Sunderland boss was rather overshadowed by the departure of Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
However, his departure could prove just as decisive for the future of his former club as Rodgers will at Anfield.
Advocaat had decided to resign last week, but had been persuaded to oversee the Black Cats 2-2 draw with West Ham on Saturday, before leaving his position after the game.
You have to praise Dick Advocaat for his honesty during his time on Wearside. The veteran Dutchman has proven in the past that he is a decent manager and a decent man.
His statement earlier in the season suggesting he would step aside if the club found somebody better for the job rather hinted at Saturday’s outcome.
I doubt many Black Cats fans will criticise the Dutchman for his decision to leave the club, with the team currently second from bottom on only goal difference.
The 68-year-old’s appointment as permanent boss in the summer was a big mistake for both parties. Advocaat had done a very good job in keeping the north east up last season on a short-term deal, but seemed less than keen to sign a longer term contract in the summer.
In fact he initially turned down a new deal, before making a U-turn shortly afterwards and taking the position as Sunderland boss. The Black Cats should have moved on when Advocaat turned them down in the first place, and Advocaat should not have accepted a new deal.
Unconfirmed reports suggested he turned down an initial deal because he did not have reassurances about the resources at his disposal to strength his squad. Maybe his ego motivated him to change his mind and believe he could get the best out of the Sunderland squad.
In the end he was not given the greatest backing by club owner Ellis Short and had to cut his cloth accordingly bringing in anybody the club could afford. You know the saying ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a pigs’, that is what Advocaat was attempting to do and realised he was fighting a losing battle. Instead of deciding to drag the situation out he took action and quit.
Advocaat has stated that one of the reasons for his departure was that the Sunderland squad was too thin to avoid yet another relegation battle. He had reported already told owner Ellis Short that he felt the squad needed major change to avoid the annual dogfight, but the US owner ignored his warnings.
The Sunderland squad is in truth not good enough and that has been proven by the fact that the Black Cats seem to fight an annual battle against relegation.
The players that the Black Cats have signed in recent windows are players who have proven not good enough for other Premier League teams. Summer signings Sebastian Coates and Younes Kaboul are typical examples.
Coates arrived in England at Liverpool as a highly-promising young centre-back. He could not gain regular first team football on Merseyside and moved to Sunderland last summer on a season-long loan deal.
He struggled at first, but helped the team to a five match unbeaten run towards the end of the campaign that proved to save the club from relegation. He joined on a permanent basis this summer for £2million.
Unfortunately for the Uruguayan international the Black Cats have conceded 12 goals in his five Premier League appearances. Question marks remain about his ability to play Premier League football.
Kaboul endured mixed fortunes at Spurs, but was always regarded as a defender who lost concentration very easily. He was sold because he was considered not good enough to feature on a regular basis for Spurs. On this seasons evidence it was a wise move from the north London club.
The French defender has also made six league appearances for the Black Cats this season. During his six appearances the Black Cats have conceded 15 goals.
You get what you pay for in football, just as in life, and Sunderland has been buying from the bargain basement for far too long. The supporters definitely deserve better than their current set-up.
A number of big name bosses have been linked with the Sunderland job. The likes of Sam Allardyce, David Moyes, and even Brendan Rodgers have already been linked with the job, but current reports suggest that no formal approach has yet been made for Advocaat’s replacement.
As Advocaat has suggested the task of keeping Sunderland up this season could be a difficult one due to the lack of quality and strength of their squad.
For years the Black Cats have been beating the drop by the skin of their teeth. Sadly for the clubs fans it seems this could be the season they finally see their club relegated to the second tier of English football.
Is the current Sunderland squad good enough to beat relegation this season?