David Moyes has indicated he may leave Sunderland at the end of the season. His team could be relegated to the Championship on Saturday and the manager was noncommittal when asked whether he would definitely be in charge in August.
“I would say that I would make that decision at the end of the season,” said Moyes, who signed a four-year deal in July. “Because at this moment in time it would be the wrong time to say that. I just have a situation where we need to see how things are at the end of the season. I will assess the situation at the end of the season.”
Sunderland host Bournemouth on Saturday and will go down if they fail at least to match Hull City’s result at Southampton. Sections of the Sunderland fans at Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat by Middlesbrough turned on Moyes, the owner Ellis Short and the players but Moyes said the fans’ view would not shape his decision on his future. There were also calls for his dismissal during the home game against West Ham this month. “It will never be because of the supporters,” he said.
“I totally appreciate supporters because I’m a football supporter and I take responsibility. But I also feel that the responsibility should be shared and, if it was only directed at the manager, then I would be saying it’s probably not correct.
“But, being a football supporter, the manager is probably an easy target – that’s it. I’m the public front. Twelve months ago everyone was saying the best appointment was David Moyes. No one was saying it wasn’t. It has changed a bit in the last couple of weeks, maybe before that, because of the position we’re in but you keep going in these situations. You don’t enjoy it. But there’s only one place I want to be on Saturday and that’s somewhere around my technical area.”
Moyes admitted Sunderland, with one victory since mid-December, had forgotten how to win and said the team’s plight was agonising. “Oh, it hurts me, it hurts me totally. I’m certainly not smiling and laughing and enjoying myself. You want to have a winning feeling. Maybe we’ve forgotten how to do that. We have forgotten how to win. We have got to find that and we have got to get it back quickly.”
He emphasised, though, that Sunderland also needed to focus on matters beyond the here and now. “A long-term plan is definitely needed for this football club. Unfortunately, a lot of people want to talk about it, but they don’t actually want to see that this is the way it has to happen. But we will put it in place. There are a lot of things done behind the scenes we are trying to improve on.”
He added: “Sometimes change is [painful] and time in the modern life we work and live in is maybe not a thing there’s an awful lot of.”
Sunderland’s net debt fell by £23m despite the club’s loss after tax of £33m during the last financial year, their latest annual accounts have revealed. The club made an operating profit of £1.5m and reduced the debt burden from £133.2m to £110.4m during the year to 31 July 2016.
The figures do not include player amortisation and trading costs of £38.3m incurred during the last summer transfer window. They pre-date the arrivals of Moyes and Martin Bain, the chief executive.