‘Fans have every right to be worried’ – Sunderland reporter gives damning verdict on Michael Beale tenure

The decision by Sunderland to part company with boss Michael Beale after just 12 games in charge has been met with one over-riding opinion.

2WJCK8D Michael Beale  of Sunderland during the Sky Bet Championship match Huddersfield Town vs Sunderland at John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield, United Kingdom, 14th February 2024
(Photo by Craig Cresswell/News Images)

Beale was appointed as Tony Mowbray’s successor just before Christmas and earlier this week it was announced that six losses in those opening 12 was enough for the Sunderland hierarchy to pull the trigger.

Sporting director Kristjaan Speakman said Sunderland take ‘full accountability’ in the club statement with the vast majority of supporters ultimately proved right on this occasion.

Speaking to SportsByte, the trusted Sunderland Nation reporter and Sunderland fan Michael Graham said: “Beale was never the right fit for Sunderland and it was very clear, very early, that it wasn’t going to work. I mean, how many managers can you remember having to apologise to fans for the performance after their very first game?

“But ultimately his communication was antagonistic, his results poor, his football atrocious, and him leaving was inevitable. I’m surprised it has come so soon, but you also have to give the club some credit for that.”

It’s hard to argue against this verdict. In just over 60 days in the North East Beale had to apologise for a dire home performance, was embarrassed by local rivals Newcastle United, beaten by the man he replaced, had ‘handshake gate’ and made Sunderland a statistically worse team.

The decision to appoint Beale was a baffling one for many, but the decision to part company is definitely the right move for both parties. Graham added: “Well the trust in Speakman and KLD (Kyril Louis-Dreyfus) has definitely been eroded by this whole debacle. You can’t dispute that. Beale wasn’t just a small mistake, it was an obvious one and fans have every right to be worried by it. Ultimately, though it was just a mistake, and show me a man who has never made a mistake and I will show you one that has never made a decision.”

“In terms of managerial appointments, it is the first one they have got wrong, but the Beale debacle has emptied the vault in terms of credit. If they are to maintain and rebuild trust, it’s essential they get the next appointment right.”

Mike Dodds has been appointed interim head coach until the end of the season. Dodds is the safe option, but for a side just four points outside the play-offs it does feel like this appointment is one that condemns Sunderland to another year in the second tier.

A feeling shared by Graham: “Dodds is probably a safe pair of hands, but it also feels like an admission that Sunderland think the season is essentially over now. That feels like a shame but it’s a hard one to dispute given the current position and the tough games coming up in March.”

It does give the Sunderland board time to prepare and ensure the next man they bring in is the right one – an appointment which now bears a lot of pressure for Louis-Dreyfus and Speakman.

Dodds will take charge of his fourth game this season on Saturday when Sunderland welcome a struggling Swansea City side to the Stadium of Light.