Bye bye, Simon
Within eleven minutes of full time it was announced that Simon Grayson had been sacked as manager of Sunderland, putting an end to an absolutely awful four months of football under the stewardship of the former Leeds and Huddersfield manager.
Sunderland were shoddy against Bolton, but the speed at which the statement was put up on the club website suggests that this was a decision that was taken by Martin Bain and Ellis Short before tonight’s game had even taken place.
I actually feel sorry for Grayson, because he’s clearly a good, honest man that had the club within his best interests. He left a stable job at Preston to take over the role as manager here and it just didn’t work out. It’s sad, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
Fact is, though, it was the correct decision - one that should have been brutally taken months ago.
I’ve no idea what it is that Grayson has been trying to do but, whatever it is, it just wasn’t working - the culmination of which occurred against Bolton as we failed to beat a side who haven’t won away from home in over thirty league games.
This club is a mess.
The next managerial appointment has to be absolutely spot on, or we risk plunging even further into a relegation battle that will likely see us end up in League One.
Grabban at it again
One small positive to take from the game is that Lewis Grabban managed to bag himself another couple of goals, putting him on eight for the season.
That’s a thoroughly decent record at any level of football.
Whoever the next manager is has to play a brand of football that works to Grabban’s strengths. He’s at his absolute worst when he’s having to fend for long balls, but on the floor he is lethal. If we can get our technically-better midfielders and forwards playing in tune with the Bournemouth loanee, the rest should just take care of itself.
Goalkeeper change wasn’t vindicated
I feel disappointed in Robbin Ruiter, mainly because I’ve been banging the drum for his re-introduction to the side, only for him to fail to really grasp the opportunity when given one in last night’s game.
I thought that he could, and should, have done better for Bolton’s first goal.
That said, it’s hardly a surprise that his confidence is shot to pieces - it was only a day or so before last night’s game that the (now former) manager was talking down the ability of those behind Jason Steele in the pecking order, only for Grayson to completely change his mind on match day with his team selection.
One of the many strange things that Simon Grayson did as his tenure came to an abrupt end.
Playing without a clue
There has been a clear organisational issue with Sunderland’s players ever since the season started. That, coupled with some bizarre tactics and team selections from Simon Grayson, have left some of Sunderland’s more inventive players left playing without a clue.
Case in point: Jonny Williams. This is a man that is loved by fans of the Wales national team, Crystal Palace and Ipswich - clubs that nickname him ‘Joniesta’ due to his fantastic technical ability on the ball.
Where has that version of Williams been this season, then? I’ve certainly not seen it.
The man himself talked in the press last week about ‘loving’ playing under Simon Grayson, because he allows Williams to play without restrictions placed upon him.
Strange, then, that Williams hasn’t turned in a single good performance all season.
He’s one of many players that need to buck their ideas up once a new manager comes through the door. He’s here to gain experience in the hope that Crystal Palace will eventually reintroduce him to their side - but on the basis of what I’ve seen, he’s got no chance.