Ben Burgess: Bridges must be built between club and fans

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce
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Whilst on the pitch the Seasiders’ up turn in fortunes has brought some cheer to their long suffering supporters, off the pitch it appears its ‘no business’ as usual.

The news that four of the recently formed Fans Progress Group have felt it necessary to resign from their positions, shows how truly frustrated they must feel after just one meeting with the owners.

This fans group sounded like a good solution to finally have a link between the two warring factions (although meeting with already established fans groups would make more sense).

Where the club goes next I truly do not know, but bridges will never be re-built until the supporters are allowed their say and to feel appreciated again at the club they love.

The recent success on the pitch has been a welcome relief from the usual negativity at the club, but in true Blackpool style there’s now some uncertainty about the manager!

With Sam Allardyce taking over as Sunderland boss and needing a trusted assistant, suddenly everyone presumes that man will be Neil McDonald.

If the call had come a few weeks ago McDonald would probably have jumped at the chance, with the Seasiders languishing at the bottom of the league and signing players was harder than getting Cristiano Ronaldo to pass to a team mate!

As big as the lure of working in the Premier League with your old mate might be, I fully expect McDonald to stay in his current role after overseeing three wins on the bounce.

Being your own boss is a position that all coaches have to try at some point, sadly it doesn’t always work out though and there have been some high profile failures.

If I look at the various assistant managers I have worked under, there aren’t many that have gone on to become successful managers. Tony Parkes was a great example. Fantastic coach and assistant (not to mention caretaker) but struggled as manager. This is probably due to the vast difference in the two roles.

Assistant managers tend to be closer to the players, put on the fun training sessions and console players who aren’t in the team.

Whilst managers make the tough decisions, they hand out the rollickings at half time and they ultimately deal with all the pressure.

In McDonald’s case though, if he manages to bring any sort of stability or success to Blackpool in this current state then he would be ripe for a better, easier job at a higher level.

If he takes the attractive option and joins back up with Big Sam again, then I think he may just find it a lot harder to get back into management if he decided to try again.

International week

What a fantastic weekend for (most of) the home nations. Northern Ireland in particular performed magnificently to finish top of their group.

All of that without having a real star player, unlike Wales who have Gareth Bale to thank for the majority of their points.

Michael O’Neill has performed a similar job to Ian Holloway’s at Blackpool, by taking an unfancied team with poor facilities and low expectations and fostering an unbeatable team spirit and a way of playing that suits the players and makes them happy.

As Sir Alex Ferguson alludes to in his book and his Sky interviews, managing players and personalities is the most important thing.

With regards to England’s chances next summer in France, they must be boosted by a raft of unfancied teams qualifying for the finals, like Austria, Iceland and Albania.

It was also interesting to hear Jamie Carragher say it was too easy to get an England cap nowadays.

His reasoning for this was that there are so few English players in the Premier League, that if you stay fit then you’ve got a great chance of earning a cap, regardless of how good you are.

He does have a valid point, but I personally like to see new players given a chance by England.

The likes of Ross Barkley, John Stones, Jamie Vardy and ex-Blackpool loanee Jonjo Shelvey have been given a chance and have gone a long way to guaranteeing their place in the final squad for the summer.