It has been over two weeks since Simon Grayson was asked to step down from his role as Sunderland manager - leaving the club sitting at the foot of the Championship table with a paltry 10 points from 16 games.
Fans have stood by patiently, waiting for Martin Bain and co. to seek out a new man capable of leading the club forward in the right direction. If truth be told, however, it has been a rather tedious fortnight which has seen the club linked with few managers capable of generating any real sense of optimism.
That being said, one name that has come to the fore in the last day or so is that of Barnsley’s manager, Paul Heckingbottom, who was also linked with the club during the summer. We decided to poll our readers, and see whether they thought the Tykes’ boss would be a good fit on Wearside.
IF (big if) Sunderland do appoint Paul Heckingbottom, will you be happy with the decision they’ve made?— Roker Report (@RokerReport) November 15, 2017
As well as voting in the poll, please leave your comments below.
It’s would appear that few are convinced by the potential appointment of the former Sunderland trainee. Just over one-quarter of the near 3000 respondents argued that they would be happy with the potential appointment, while over one-third were clear that Heckingbottom would not be the man of their choice, and almost 40% argued that they were undecided on the matter.
It’s clear to see that fans aren’t convinced of the Barnsley manager’s credentials, and perhaps doubt his ability to help halt our hurtful demise.
It’s likely a case of fans beginning to look beyond the simplistic notion that poor results stem solely from the man in charge of training, tactics and team selection. As noted by several respondents on the poll, any manager coming into this club will face an incredibly difficult challenge trying to rejuvenate this beleaguered club.
To be honest I am unsure who is best appointment. Whoever Bain/Short picks they are going to have to work under same constraints of no money with a team players who vary from not giving a fuck, to wanting away to trying but being held back by the others. Very difficult— David McKeever (@DavidMcKeever8) November 15, 2017
Is Heckingbottom a big enough character to impact a squad of overpaid and under-performing players? Can a man whose team has managed 5 wins, 4 draws and 6 losses this season turn our fortunes around? Does he have enough experience for the role? All valid questions posed by readers in the poll’s comments section.
That being said, fellow Roker Report writer Craig Davies published an incredibly interesting piece about why he thought Heckingbottom was the perfect fit for the club. In the article he noted that the Barnsley boss has exceeded with a squad likely to collectively earn less than Jack Rodwell amid trouble behind the scenes, and a perpetual need to sell key players in order to balance finances. Perhaps his time in Yorkshire has trained him well for the maelstrom that is Sunderland AFC.
Ultimately, almost any manager linked with the club will be harshly judged ahead of their appointment simply due to the suffering endured by the fans over the course of the last couple of years.
Will Sunderland make a move for Heckingbottom, or look elsewhere? Only time will tell - and we don’t have a lot of that to play with.
Ultimately though, it’s all about giving the next manager time to get things working, and although that’s not an easy thing to do given our current league position, it’s a must if we are to see any sign of improvement.