Sunderland AFC Opinion – Michael Beale’s appointment was destined to fail, and it has

Michael Beale is no longer manager of Sunderland AFC. Where did it all go wrong? Matthew Keeling explains

There we have it then. 63 days, 11 league games, four wins and multiple attempts at self-sabotage in press conferences – Michael Beale is no longer manager of Sunderland AFC. Where did it all go wrong? To be honest it had no chance of ever going right.

Appointed to replace a popular Tony Mowbray, Michael Beale arrived at Sunderland in December amidst negativity. Partly at his appointment, and also at the farcical nature in which the club were doing everything possible to lose the upcoming Tyne and Wear derby.

The truth is Beale was an underwhelming appointment. Promising but fleeting at QPR, and a failure at Rangers, he had all the hallmarks of a good coach but not a manager. It felt destined for failure. And it was.

The worst possible start, a 3-0 reverse at home to Coventry City, set the tone for the majority of his tenure. There were bright sparks, winning at Hull on Boxing Day followed by a comfortable win at home to Preston.

But then there was the derby. Newcastle cruised to a 3-0 win and Beale did absolutely nothing to try and stop it. No one expected to win, but we may have had the gall to expect we laid a glove on them.

Yes, victories at home to Stoke and Plymouth showed signs of promise, but lots of individual brilliance did get us there. The play never really quite felt right, it didn’t feel balanced or even thought out. It would be remiss of me to say that the wins weren’t deserved, in fact after the Plymouth game there were ever so slight signs that just maybe…

But it wasn’t to be and we should have known. It would end how we thought it would. A wretched display against Huddersfield was universally accepted as the worst of the season, bar Rotherham perhaps, and Saturday’s dismal defeat to Birmingham City was the final straw.

The situation with Trai Hume was at best unfortunate, and at worst unforgivable. Whether Beale saw him or not, only he will know – the decision to immediately take to his personal Instagram account to apologise was just quite bizarre.

All things added together and the Michael Beale era at Sunderland was nothing short of a disaster. An appointment destined to fail, to the shock of absolutely no one, has failed.

There is a big test now for the board and Kristjaan Speakman in the summer. A manager to find, and potentially the spine of the team to replace if the big boys come calling. It’s one they can’t get wrong again.

We’re still somehow in the play-off mix – four points behind Coventry City, so it isn’t beyond the wildest dreams that we could sneak in again. Right now though it feels a long, long way away.

Mike Dodds will have an opportunity to stake his own claim for the job in the remaining games, and if he’s in a position where he gets it, that means he has done a brilliant job. We’ll see then.

It’s over then, the shortest reign of any permanent Sunderland manager. On a personal level Michael Beale has my best wishes for his ongoing situation with his niece Poppy, who is battling leukaemia, and I can’t help but feel that not being in this job will be the best outcome for him too. `

Seemingly out of his depth, floundering and faltering. Sunderland have acted quickly, but its a mess of their own making.