Date:Tuesday February 7 2006
Rumours are rife that Mick McCarthy may not last the day as Sunderland manager.
The former Ireland boss has come to loggerheads with chairman Bob Murray over claims that Sunderland had 'planned' for relegation. McCarthy on Friday claimed what most Sunderland fans had already assumed:
'There was a view taken in the summer that, of course we wanted to stay up and do well, but if we didn't, the group of players will stay here and be a force to be reckoned with (in the Championship).'
For all McCarthy's critics as a Premiership manager, not many would question his honesty and integrity, and his claims here did not seem to strike many Sunderland fans as bogus, even if it did anger and frustrate many at the club's lack of ambition.
However Murray blasted back over the weekend, claiming these remarks were 'blatantly untrue and insulting'. Murray obviously took exception to the remarks of his manager, adding:
'We all feel very let down by the season and are having to manage the most difficult scenario we all could imagine. It's certainly not a situation anyone would have purposely planned for!'
While many claim that if Murray was to sack McCarthy he would have done a long time before now, he has made no concrete effort to publicly back McCarthy and now that this first sign of a split has arisen, the two could well be separated, as usual the victim being the manager, who for many Sunderland fans is not considered the main offender at the club.
While the Sunderland Echo has claimed no talks are planned between the two and the club wants to forget this off-field incident and move on, a Sunderland spokesman today refused to comment to a Radio 5live reporter on the possibility of McCarthy being sacked today, fuelling speculation that his axing is imminent.
If McCarthy survives today however, the biggest game of his season so far is undoubtedly Spurs at home on Sunday. Another tame loss coupled with further evident signs of discontent from the home fans should well see the end of the Yorkshireman's Sunderland reign.
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