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In a recent interview with the Guardian.

Ex-Black Cats manager Gus Poyet described his time there with a typically exuberant gesture; “…you get your head above the parapet and … bang!

David Moyes is being mangled by Sunderland's toxic churnThere’s something there, something I couldn’t find. If I knew what it was I’d say but I don’t. But it’s there and needs to be changed at the root.”

Poyet, just like Martin O’Neill, just like Paolo Di Canio, just like Dick Advocaat, has been through the Sunderland managerial mangle. The Uruguayan, now at Real Betis, can look back on his trauma on Wearside, dab tenderly only at the memories of the professional blows he took as Sunderland manager. David Moyes, with nearly all Premier League fans watching on with sympathy, is suffering through it presently.

Rival supporters can only wonder was sort of harrowing torture being a Sunderland fan must be; the club has, for what feels like an eternity now – but is in fact only about four seasons – teetered on the precipice of relegation, lurching grossly between bitter resignation to the drop, and blood-curdling, by-teeth-skin’s escapes. It is no way to exist, but the Black Cats have been – and are still – living there. Nine lives, that’s what they say about cats, don’t they? How many do these sooty creatures have left?

At the moment, rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table and without a win, Moyes must be feeling like he’s been handed the gun, mid-game of Russian Roulette, and has done the maths; the chamber lined up for his turn must surely be one with a bullet inside. Sam Allardyce opted out of his round, sauntering off to complete history’s most farcical tenure as England manager – he may well return to Sunderland just in time to bail them out of yet another relegation, wouldn’t that be something? – leaving Moyes to inherit his mottled, cobbled-together lot.

Moyes recently came out and stated that – keeping in mind the fact that Sunderland have eight injured first-teamers – his team will be relying on the “seniority” of Victor Anichebe, a player yet to start a league game for Sunderland and a striker many will be surprised to learn is still in the English top flight. Anichebe was unavailable for last weekend’s match against Stoke, a match Sunderland lost 2-0, but will reportedly be fit for the trip to West Ham this weekend. Stoke, over the first few games of the season, were one of the league’s worst teams, but got it together just in time for Moyes and Sunderland. West Ham, who started this season in historically bad form, have also reigned in their defensive mishaps, and were pleased to secure a fine away victory at Crystal Palace last weekend. Nothing, it seems, is going Sunderland’s way.

It feels like this chapter in Moyes’ career will complete the jarring plummet, from secure Everton fixture, to Manchester United chosen one, then, via a doomed Spanish sojourn, all the way down to relegation candidate. But, just like Wigan, who flirted with the drop over and over before finally succumbing, a club cannot survive on the edge indefinitely, and even the battle-worn Sunderland fans are picking this season as the one where the deathly gravity eventually wins, sucking them into the Championship. No one would argue David Moyes deserves this fate, but few can argue the ship he decided to join wasn’t already in the advanced sinking stages.

Only Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe look equipped with the talent and energy to inspire hope for Sunderland this season. Lamine Kone had an awkward and protracted contract saga over the off-season, and Jan Kirchhoff is in the middle of an eight-week layoff with injury. The rest of the team looked devoid of confidence, creakily aged, or are simply not of the required standard to compete in Premier League-standard competition.

With West Ham shoring up their defence, inserting the excellent Pedro Obiang into a midfield screening role, it seems unlikely Sunderland will find much fortune at the Olympic Stadium this weekend. Sunderland’s injury list is the league’s longest, and they’ve scored the fewest goals in the top flight.

“…David Moyes is there and he has what’s been left him by previous coaches and you can’t go on like that.” Poyet said in that Guardian interview. “You just can’t. It’s impossible. Because when you start from zero every year – every year – you stay at zero.”

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Evan Morgan Grahame
Blog: wildwordsofsport.com, Twitter: @WWofSport
for Outside 90, Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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