He’s had long enough and a poor season so far leaves him ready to be shot at, right?
In the interest of writing in as non-reactionary manner as possible I’ve waited until Monday morning before penning this piece whilst leading Sunderland supporters websites have quickly made their feelings clear.
That’s not to say we’re any better at VitalSunderland, but I like to think that I am not a reactionary over-the-top moron. I’m certainly not someone who calls for a change at the drop of a hat.
Saturday’s defeat to Wigan was the straw the broke the camel’s back though. From two extremely winnable games against Fulham and Wigan, both struggling at the foot of the table we have amassed a mere point.
These are the games you have to be winning even when you’re struggling yourselves, albeit not to the same extent bottom of the table Wigan were.
Games against a Europa League-shattered Fulham and a bottom of the table Wigan are gifts. They put into perspective your own club’s ‘crisis’ and galvanize fans and players alike with three points. There are no certainties in football of course, but Sunderland certainly should have done better.
A lot of fans have been blinded by last season’s over-achievement. Tenth place represented a fair return for the calibre of players on the books – players such as Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan, Danny Welbeck, Bolo Zendem and Nedum Onouhah; players which have all since departed.
Last season’s finish was earnt on the merits of the first half of the season and had we have won as few points in the second-half as we did in the first we would surely have been relegated.
This is not a four month slump, this is a nine or 10 month slump which started in January.
Having finished positively last season, hopes were overly high this season and this has put pressure on Bruce from the outset.
Bruce was handed money this summer to invest and although players were needed, he spent the money in the wrong areas.
Our biggest summer outlay? £8.1m on a striker with potential. Potential to be a good player, granted, but at 18 he is not ready for the demands of Premier League football yet because money was spent on Connor Wickham rather than an experienced forward he has been thrust in and is now injured.
The next biggest signing was Craig Gardner who cost a princely £5m. So far, so bad. Gardner has been over-looked by Bruce with Jack Colback the preferred midfield partner to Lee Cattermole for now.
Nicklas Bendtner on hefty wages and a not insignificant loan fee has failed get close to living up to his potential and does not look like he will fit in.
Ji Dong-Won is another with ‘potential’ and would really benefit from a loan spell to adjust to English football. Thanks to the lack of strikers, he won’t get that luxury.
David Vaughan and Sebastian Larsson were free, but with Cattermole, Colback, Gardner and the returning David Meyler on the books, was a fifth central midfielder necessary.
Of Bruce’s summer signings only Larsson and Keiren Westwood really appear to have worked out.
Ellis Short has a big decision now. Does he back a man (again), who has wasted money with the money he will inevitably ask for to strengthen in January or does he call time on the Bruce reign and give someone with fresh ideas that money? If the move is made prior to January then that man will at least get the opportunity to buy and sell and (hopefully) six months to get the squad playing as he wants with the relative safety of mid-table obscurity.
Personally I’d go with the latter but I’m not the one with my finger on the trigger.