Date:Monday March 6 2006
Liam Lawrence looked visibly upset as he was interviewed on Sky Sports News following Mick McCarthey's sacking as Sunderland manager.
The former Mansfield player has, like many of the current crop of players, a lot to thank McCarthey for, being given the chance to perform at the highest level in English football when signed by Mick in 2004.
He said: 'I was very disappointed to hear the news. All the lads are gutted.
'Maybe things could have been done at Christmas. I don't understand the timing. It's come at the wrong time for us I think.'
Lawrence revealed the former Ireland manager had not lost the dressing room; 'We were all behind him. Lots of the lads owe a lot to Mick McCarthy - me definitely. We've tried our best and given everything for the manager.'
But he added: 'We've got to go on and pick ourselves up, look forward to the game at the weekend and do the best for the football club. That's what we'll do.'
Lawrence's suggestion that the timing of the sacking is wrong is echoed by Sunderland legend Gary Rowell, he told BBCi;
He said: 'It's been a disastrous season but saying that I'm shocked because the timing seems very strange.
'We thought when he didn't go a few months ago he would see the season out.
'There's a lot gone wrong - most of his buys haven't come off.
'It was always going to be tough, nobody expected a great deal but to be so far adrift - I don't think anyone expected that.'
Rowell called for the board to show their ambition and make an audacious move for England and Newcastle target Martin O'Neill.
He added: 'The board have got to meet the challenge and go for the best. If O'Neill turns them down then it is too bad.
'Bob Murray has been under severe pressure all season. Now the ball is firmly in his court. He has got to prove to fans they mean business.'
Unsurprisingly former manager Howard Wilkinson was scathing in his attack of the Sunderland hierarchy, the same members he fell foul of in a desparingly similar situation on Wearside 3 years ago.
Interviewed on Sky Sports news he revealed what most fans already know, 'It's a difficult position to find yourself in as manager if you feel you're batting on your own, which Mick will feel he has been,' Wilkinson told Sky Sports News.
'Peter Reid was a decent manager, Mick McCarthy was a decent manager, and it could be argued I was a half-decent manager.
'Yet all three, in plain results, have failed. Which poses the question - does the answer lie deeper than the management of the players?'
Further reaction and specualtion on possible successors to follow...
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