Sunderland AFC fans and former players share their thoughts on new boss Tony Mowbray

Sunderland AFC fans and former players have been having their say on the appointment of Tony Mowbray to the Stadium of Light hotseat.

Sunderland AFC confirmed late on Tuesday night that the former ‘Boro boss had been appointed and would take his place in the dugout for Wednesday’s visit of Rotherham United.

The move comes after Alex Neil – who led the Black Cats to League One play-off victory in May – jumped ship to move to Championship rivals Stoke City.

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1973 FA Cup legend Micky Horswill said the club had done well to act swiftly after the departure of Neil and minimise any disruption: “It is a strange time at the club,” he said.

"Nobody expected anything like that to happen and nobody really knows what has gone on, apart from the people in charge and the man who has left.

"But they have moved quickly to make a new appointment. The club has done quite well.”

Mowbray was a sound appointment who would keep the club on course, he said: “He is a North East lad so he knows how important it is to get the backing of the supporters.

“I am sure he will give us everything he has got.”

Tony Mowbray is Sunderland's new head coachTony Mowbray is Sunderland's new head coach
Tony Mowbray is Sunderland's new head coach
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There was even a possibility the club could make it back-to-back promotions if performances continued to reach recent heights, said Micky: “Before the season started, I thought if we could stay in the league with the team we had, that would be great, but I have been to a couple of away games and all the home games and they have played really well.

"There is a very slim chance that we can get promotion this season, the way they have been playing They have held their own against every team they have played and have surprised a lot of people with what they have done."

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Mowbray had inherited a decent side but would want to make a few additions in areas where it was lacking: “He’s not got a bad little squad but I am sure he will want to bring a few of his own players in,” said Micky.

Micky HorswillMicky Horswill
Micky Horswill

"It is a long season and they are young lads – they are going to need some help. I thought they faded a bit after about 20 minutes of the second half against Norwich. They needed a bit of experience and they didn’t have it.

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"I’m sure Tony will want to bring in a couple of lads who can provide that.”

Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association committee member Anne Howe was less enamoured with the appointment – but said the important thing was to get behind the players and whoever was in the dug-out.

"He is not somebody I would have picked, to be honest,” she said. "I liked the look of Liam Manning from Milton Keynes.

Father Marc Lyden-SmithFather Marc Lyden-Smith
Father Marc Lyden-Smith

"But it is the team we support, not the manager.”

She is hoping the side can build on recent performances, especially that against promotion favourites Norwich: “I thought the performance on Saturday was brilliant – they played some lovely football and were very unlucky.”

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She is philosophical about the club's high recent turn-over of managers: “When you have been here donkey’s years like me, you have seen them come and you have seen them go,” said Anne.

"I am still here and there are others like me – we just back the team and hope for the best.”

Anne may not be over the moon with Tony Mowbray’s arrival but club chaplain Fr Marc Lyden-Smith is a happy man.

"I am absolutely delighted,” he said.

Anne HoweAnne Howe
Anne Howe

“He is what we want in a manager – he knows the North East, he has got good connections in the North East and he has got a proven track record.

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"I think it is time for everybody to get behind him. I think everybody will do that and there will be a really good atmosphere tonight.”

Most fans’s thoughts may be on the new boss, but A Love Supreme’s Paul Dobson isn't quite over the departure of the last one: “I am still simmering about Alex Neil and his behaviour and the way it has made some of our supporters turn on the club,” he said.

‘Sobs’ thinks Mowbray is a decent fit: “I am absolutely fine with it,” he said.

And he was dismissive of criticism of the new boss as old-fashioned: “People have said he will do well for a year, then be usurped by one of the ‘progressives’,” said Paul.

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"But we tried the progressives with the likes of Lee Johnson and Jack Ross - and it did not work.

"We have known Tony Mowbray for 40 years, as a ‘Boro player, as a manager and as someone who has been in and around the game. We have seen the way he works over the years and he is nothing if he is not an honest fellow.”

The new man also seemed to be happy with the club’s footballing structure and his place within it: “He is not the manager, he is the head coach, which appears to be the way we are running the club at the moment,” said Paul.

It was a good time for a new manager to be coming in, with a decent squad that was producing solid performances and a number of exciting signings with real potential.

"He is lucky,” said Paul.

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"He has got a good team that is playing well and some good kids in the incoming signings.”

Tony Mowbray gets to know his squadTony Mowbray gets to know his squad
Tony Mowbray gets to know his squad