Sunderland fans: We don’t need director of football

Lee Congerton, Sunderland's sporting director
Lee Congerton, Sunderland's sporting director

Lee Congerton is busy working behind the scenes to bring in the quality players Dick Advocaat has identified to improve Sunderland.

But seven out of 10 supporters have revealed they don’t think the Black Cats need a director of football role at the club.

The Gazette’s sister paper, The Sunderland Echo, asked fans what they thought as part of an annual SAFC Survey and there has been another intriguing set of results.

Congerton, and owner Ellis Short, did however play a key role in encouraging Advocaat to stay on as Sunderland manager.

And half of SAFC fans say they are “content” with the chairman’s performance over the past 12-months but admit they do want to see more action from the American.

Just 51 fans out of the 1,300+ that took part admitted to being “very happy” with Short, while around a fifth say they are “unhappy” with his work at the club.

While Congerton and Short may divide opinion, one man certainly does not.

Advocaat arrived with just nine games to save the Black Cats from relegation after Gus Poyet’s sacking.

And he pulled it off with a game to spare – etching himself into SAFC folklore.

So much so, that despite arriving with the intention of staying just a matter of months, he performed an emotional U-turn to agree to stay on for another season. The relief could be heard across Wearside.

And Sunderland fans told us that his best quality was his man management skills - with more than 40% of supporters agreeing.

His tactics and character were also praised but just 10 per cent thought his style of football was his best attribute. But it got the job done.

While there was praise for the Dutchman, there was further criticism of the players with fans blaming the struggles of the 2014-15 season firmly at their feet.

They polled around a third of the vote, with former manager Poyet and the lack of investment also blamed for the season’s shortcomings.

We also asked supporters to vote for the best and worst display of the season.

Perhaps surprisingly, the draw at Arsenal which sealed the club’s survival, topped the poll - beating both Derby Day wins over Newcastle United.

Mind, they have become a regular occurrence in recent seasons!

No surprises over which ‘performance’ was voted the worst display - Sunderland’s 8-0 thumping away to Southampton polled more than half the votes.

The less said about that the better, perhaps.