Lack of Leadership
Who are the actual leaders in the Sunderland camp?
We again heard this week, from Sunderland CEO Martin Bain, that Lee Cattermole and John O’Shea had spoken with him about their disdain for the position we find ourselves in.
The actual quote was:
We’re in October with a long way to go in the season with a squad of players who are committed. I spoke to Lee (Cattermole) and John (O’Shea) the other night and they’re two gentlemen with determination who don’t like being where they’re at.
But how much positive influence are these people having about the place? I’ve spoken up about this before, and it still eats away at me. We’re a club ran by losers, managed by losers, led by losers. It’s rotten from top to bottom, on and off the pitch.
The players aren’t playing for Simon Grayson. That much was confirmed when it was O’Shea himself ordering Lamine Kone to go and play up front for the final few minutes of the game as we bid to find a goal out of nothing.
It’s generally unclear as to what direction this group is headed in. We need someone to come forward, front up for the issues we’re having and act as a leader - a sole voice within the group speaking on behalf of the squad.
The players need to take responsibility and own this situation.
Will it happen? Would anyone bar the aforementioned Cattermole and O’Shea step up?
Who knows. It’s needed though. Tuesday is a make or break game.
Time for Grayson to go
It has been apparent for some time now that Simon Grayson just isn’t up to the job of Sunderland manager, but yesterday’s performance and result all but confirmed to me that this man needs to be peddled before he can inflict even further damage.
I have no doubt that his intentions are good and that he’s got the best interests of the club at heart, but he’s so far out of his depth that he’s almost drowning.
Grayson’s home record. How has he still got a job? Unreal. pic.twitter.com/H7Sl3HiKHV— Gav. (@Gav1879) October 29, 2017
That home record speaks for itself.
Before he arrived on Wearside, Preston failed to win any of their last six games of last season, drawing just one and losing five. His run of failure goes beyond the absolute calamity that has been his tenure at Sunderland.
The club aren’t going to pay him off. He needs to walk away with some dignity intact.
Sunderland is too big a club for him. We have too many issues and he’s just not the man to steady this ship.
Steele... the worst ever?
In my twenty-plus years as a Sunderland supporter and season ticket holder I’m pretty confident when saying that I’ve not seen a goalkeeper as bad as Jason Steele playing between the sticks for this football club.
Kelvin Davis was horrific, but even he wasn’t this bad. Steele makes Calamity Kelvin look like Oliver Kahn at his peak in comparison.
I take no pleasure from highlighting his shortcomings.
In fact, I actually feel sorry for him.
There were smatterings of ironic cheers when he successfully collected a ball, or eventually found another Sunderland player with a long kick. That’s where we are though - even his own supporters would rather laugh than cry about just how bad he actually is.
His positioning for their first goal was absolutely abysmal. Granted, the Bristol player on the line did a good job of blocking him off, but he remained rooted to the spot. If he’s active in that situation he gets a hand to the cross and turns it away from danger - Steel’s main issue, however, is that he’s incapable of sensing when a problem is about to occur.
Robbin Ruiter cannot be worse. It’s impossible. He must start on Tuesday.
Well, Lewis Grabban scored again - his third in the space of a week.
Bryan Oviedo had a great game too, and he’s looking like a very capable player at this level. He got forward with ease and contributed offensively, whilst also looking pretty solid at the back.
We also saw the return of Paddy McNair, who made his first appearance for the first team since he went down injured last November during the Hull game. The fitter he becomes, the better it is for us because we need a genuine alternative to Lee Cattermole and Darron Gibson.
Other than that, I’m struggling. But - at least I’ve tried!