David Moyes may be beginning to sound like a broken record at the moment, with every game throwing up the same – predominantly legitimate, to be fair – complaints about poor refereeing, but that isn’t even the record the club should be most concerned about.
It may seem impossible that the Black Cats, or any team ever, could ‘beat’ Derby County’s paradoxically impressive tally of 11 points. Yet, even with a [very] rusty memory of GCSE Mathematics, it’s simple to work out that with two points from a possible 30 to current date, they are on course to set a new Premier League record of below 10 points. ‘Oh dear, oh dear’.
Of course it’s a very small sample to use as a serious prediction and one win would change the estimate completely, starting with their away trip to Bournemouth this weekend. But, that doesn’t mean that Sunderland breaking the unenviable record is unfeasible.
With Moyes seemingly resigned to his fate already, those huge, heartbroken Gaelic eyes looking more and more like a physical embodiment of Sartre’s The Wall as each day passes, and the players appearing as though they are gaining no inspiration from their boss, things could be set to get worse before they get better.
Only the prospect of Moyes eating crisps with the fans when he serves his latest touchline ban, handed to him for the aforementioned complaints, could brighten things up.
This looks all the more realistic from the fact that Chairman, Ellis Short is likely to stick by Moyes a while, given that he told the press at the time of the Scotsman’s appointment…
“He was my number one managerial target for the last five appointments, but his desire to honour existing contracts meant we were not able to bring him to Sunderland previously”
A a prolonged stay of execution for Moyesie could just make matters worse.
Looking at the squad doesn’t exactly offer much cause for optimism; the last-minute nature of Moyes’ appointment, due to Sam Allardyce’s ill-fated England appointment, resulted in a squad that Moyes never really wanted, and one that doesn’t look capable of survival.
The North-East of England is known for suffering hardships but surviving due to a mix of solidarity and bullishness, and Sunderland themselves represent this with dogged battles against relegation that annually end in a sort of joy but are followed by an anticlimactic feeling and the knowledge that nothing has really changed, as though the Stadium of Light has two Christmases. This year, though, that looks set to change.
The way things are headed, Sunderland will soon find themselves in more of a battle with Derby County 2007/08 than Burnley or Middlesborough 2016/17.