April 19, 2024

A Sunderland veteran has asked disgruntled fans to be more forgiving of manager Michael Beale.

Sunderland are now in a state of instability.

Last month, the owners opted to fire Tony Mowbray, replacing him with Beale, a former Rangers and QPR manager who had been connected with Reims manager Will Still.

Still was the club’s initial choice to replace Mowbray, but the Black Cats refused to pay the requisite compensation to bring in the Belgian-English coach.

Since then, Beale has failed to impress, winning only two of his first seven games in charge and becoming a universally disliked figure among fans.

Kevin Phillips urges Sunderland supporters to be patient


Kevin Phillips: Hartlepool United appoint ex-England and Sunderland striker  as head coach - BBC Sport


The general consensus among Sunderland fans is that Beale is not the proper man for the position.

Many fans believe they are simply waiting for Beale to be fired and a new manager to take over, but Sunderland veteran Kevin Phillips has asked fans to ‘easy off’ Beale and be more patient with his approach.

Phillips informed We Are Sunderland:

“They are frustrated. It’s been mediocre, but ideally Michael will have the opportunity to turn things around, stamp his authority and style, go on a little run, and make the playoffs.

“It was the same when Sir Alex Ferguson quit Manchester United. Who will come in and continue that? It is not at that level, but it is comparable. He [Beale] understood it would be difficult. In most cases, you acquire a position when a manager leaves because he isn’t doing his job well, whereas Tony was.

“It can be challenging, and he [Beale] is smart enough and experienced enough to know that if he doesn’t hit the ground running and produce results, Sunderland will demand it. If they are going to make a change, they want to see an improvement, which there hasn’t been at the moment for whatever reason.

The last game against Hull City has put a lot of strain on Beale’s shoulders; the result may be forgiven, but the performance was as boring as we’ve seen from Sunderland in a few years.

Phillips added:

“You could hear it loud and clear on television [against Hull City], the fans shouting their fury. At times like this, it is not the manager’s fault. It’s incredibly difficult, so I just hope they give him some time and take it easy on him. As I already stated, I’m confident they’re working hard on the training ground.”

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus may be forced to act

Phillips definitely has a point. Aside from fan criticism, Beale has only been in charge for seven games, and his record isn’t terrible, but Sunderland appear to have taken a step backwards.

The Black Cats are now in 10th place, but they are only one win away from the top six; a win and a strong performance against Stoke City this weekend would relieve Beale of a tremendous amount of pressure.

However, another turgid performance and defeat would spark outrage.

Sunderland fans are as ambitious as their owners, and after watching the club do so well under Mowbray, only to have all of their hard work undone in a matter of weeks, this degree of anger appears unavoidable.

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and co. may wish to give Beale a few more weeks, as well as some more signings.

However, if this level of fan unhappiness persists, the board may need to move sooner rather than later, as they do not want to entirely turn the supporters against the regime before next season’s season ticket sales, the end of this season’s business, and so on.

The game against Stoke City on Saturday takes off at 3pm at the Stadium of Light.


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