DEFIANT Sunderland fans say the club will win its battle for Premier League survival – after the axe fell on struggling boss Gus Poyet.
The Uruguayan was dismissed after 18 months in charge at the Stadium of Light and two days after the club’s 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa left the Black Cats just one point above the top-flight trapdoor.
Thousands of Sunderland fans left the ground before the break on Saturday – with some attempting to storm the dugout to give the Uruguayan a piece of their mind as Villa doubled their away goal tally for the entire campaign in the space of just 45 minutes.
But Black Cats supporters believe the team will secure its Premier League status in the weeks to come.
Former Holland manager Dick Advocaat is Poyet’s likely replacement.
Andy Martin, 40, a Sunderland supporter from Jarrow, felt it was ‘inevitable’ Poyet would be sacked following a dire premier League run.
Mr Martin said: “I think it was inevitable with the recent results. He was a defensive midfielder as a player and, as a manager at Brighton, he drew more than he won.
“At Sunderland he didn’t show he could be any more expansive than in his playing style.”
He added: “The manager has to take the fall for the results but I still think we will be all right and stay up.
“I’m not surprised, but the timing could have been better with a derby game coming up.”
Fellow Black Cat supporter Ted Prince, 56, says the players should take their share of the blame.
“It’s up to the players when they cross that white line. I’ve heard about the Dick Advocaat rumours and I don’t rate him.
“I think he will be another yes man. I think we will stay up as there are three teams worse than us.
“I would like to see Peter Reid return. He guided us to two seventh place finishes in the 1990s.
“I also wouldn’t mind Sam Allaradyce. I don’t care about his links with Newcastle.”
John Kinelato, 55, from South Shields, who describes himself as a ‘lapsed’ Newcastle fan, feels Sunderland could be Championship-bound if results don’t pick up soon.
He said: “If the results keep going as they are, they could just keep on dropping down the table.
“I would like to see a better style of play from both Newcastle and Sunderland.
“It hasn’t been very good since the 1990s.”
Lee Hughes, 44, independent councillor for the Bede Ward, in Jarrow, is a Newcastle fan hoping Sunderland maintain their Premier League spot.
He said: “I love the derby and the banter of the day. I wouldn’t want to see Sunderland go down and lose that.
“It is hard for the clubs in the North East to attract top managers.”
His son Liam Hughes, 24, from Jarrow, added: “I hope they stay up just so we can still have the derby game.
“I think Poyet needed to go. A change was needed.”