September proved a chaotic month for the Mackems, and October has not started much better, with Niall Quinn stepping down as Sunderland chairman to take on a role as International Development Director. But just how critical could that move be to manager Steve Bruce’s chances of surviving even the next few weeks?
With the loss of arguably his greatest ally, there is little to keep the wolves from the Black Cats boss’ door. The timing could not be worse for Bruce as rumours circulate that a defeat in their upcoming Premier League game could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for owner Ellis Short. With the American looking set to take a more active role in the clubs running affairs it remains to be seen whether he shares Quinn’s view that Bruce is still the man to take the Wearside club forward.
One thing that may well prove pivotal in Bruce’s future is his willingness to criticize the club’s fans for a perceived lack of support at a time when he really should be trying his hardest to keep them on his side. His reluctance to accept criticism from the fans, who many believe are well within their rights to question the clubs recent progress after a string of results that have seen just three wins in their last 20 Premier League games, could just serve to make owner Short’s task of removing him simpler.
Bruce again was quick to defend his team, once more citing the fact that the squad had had little time to gel as the reason why points have proved hard to come by. However, game by game this argument becomes weaker – particularly when combined with comments from players such as Nicklas Bendtner who indicated that he believes he is already forming a good understanding with fellow forward Stephane Sessegnon.
Time is running out for Bruce, and unfortunately talk will only get him so far. No sign of improvement in the next few weeks with Quinn not around for support could well spell the end.
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