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Last Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006, 13:53 GMT
Steve Cram on McCarthy sacking
Steve Cram
By Steve Cram
BBC athletics commentator & Sunderland fan

Most Sunderland fans will have fond memories of Mick McCarthy.

Things might look bad now, but when he took over in March 2003 they were a lot worse.

He inherited a lot of under-performing players on big contracts and we could have disappeared off the face of the earth when we were relegated.

But we didn't. Mick pulled the club together and got us back up.

Now we're on a better financial footing and whoever takes over as manager will have a solid base to work from.

Up front is where we've had the main problems
Steve Cram

And we have not been as bad as the results have suggested this season.

This is not the worst Sunderland team I've seen in my 40 years of following the club, but it's definitely one of the unluckiest.

So I have a lot of sympathy for Mick given our situation.

But on the other hand, I know the chairman Bob Murray well and he only ever does what he thinks is right for Sunderland.

He's an ambitious guy who thinks the team should be in the Premiership.

There was a feeling at the club that if they had waited to the end of the season to bring someone else in - given that the World Cup's on - it might have been difficult to find the right person.

Jon Stead
Jon Stead has not delivered for Sunderland
A new manager will have the chance to look at the current squad and do what he wants during the off-season.

In fairness, Mick was given money to spend - he probably had as big a budget as the likes of West Ham and Wigan.

And what hasn't helped him is the success those clubs have enjoyed this year.

Up front is where we've had the main problems.

Strikers Anthony Le Tallec, Jon Stead and Andy Gray were all brought in during the summer and none of them has produced what was expected of them.

You spend your money on what you think will deliver and if it doesn't, you're stuffed.

Sunderland sack manager McCarthy
06 Mar 06 |  Sunderland
Lawrence criticises McCarthy exit
06 Mar 06 |  Sunderland
What went wrong for Sunderland?
06 Mar 06 |  Sunderland
Mick McCarthy - your views
06 Mar 06 |  Sunderland


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