Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sunderland Complete Classic Blunder Firing Martin O'Neill

The English Premier League is a cruel place for managers. It needn't be. The English Premier League is a place of constant chopping and changing. It needn't be. The proven recipe for success in the country's top league is to decide upon a vision for your club, invest in that vision and stay the course with that vision.

Sunderland were a team that had the opportunity to do that. They've had money to spend, some good base talent and they had the opportunity to hire a proven Premier League manager in Martin O'Neill. However, a slip on that way to the vision has led to a desperate change that may or may not work out for the best in the short-term, but definitely cannot be good in the long-term.

O'Neill has perhaps sometimes been a little over-rated as a manager. However, there's little doubt that he knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to the EPL. He knows how to build a squad, manage players and put together a decent tactical base. He has demonstrated those qualities conclusively during spells with Leicester City and Aston Villa.

O'Neill was given money to spend last summer and he spent it. His signings and overall squad did not produce the expected level of results.

Sunderland's last win came on January 19 in an important 3-2 decision away against Wigan. It looked at that point like O'Neill's team were on the path to a solid mid-table finish. However, their next eight games would see understandable losses against Man Utd, Arsenal and West Brom; tough draws against Swansea and Fulham, a bad draw against Norwich City and bad losses to Reading and QPR. Those results have left Sunderland only one point clear of the relegation spots.

It was another for the club as they dismissed O'Neill and hired Paolo Di Canio. There are two crucial factors in determining the better manager for Sunderland. First, which is the better man for the job in the short-term and second, which the better man for the job in the long-term.

Di Canio and his flamboyant personality might ignite some short-term energy out of this team. It is equally likely that the lack of higher level managing experience will have a negative impact on his performance. In the long-term, he has no knowledge of building a successful Premier League team and he struggled to operate a successful relationship with the executive in Swindon. His temperament will be seriously tested in Sunderland as well.

Meanwhile, O'Neill is a man used to handling clubs of Sunderland's size. He is used to the battle for survival in the Premier League and knows what the next seven games will be like. He has also been a part of several longer building processes both at Leicester and Aston Villa. He brought European football to both of those clubs.

Sunderland should have too much talent to suffer relegation this season. However, it's hard to reconcile their decision to fire O'Neill and hire Di Canio as a positive one.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...