How much do these players actually care?
I don’t really need to explain to anybody about just how devoid of any sort of self-pride and work-rate some of Sunderland’s players actually are... but I will.
Yesterday I saw the type of performance from the likes of Billy Jones, Lee Cattermole and Darron Gibson that I am quite frankly sick to death of.
Bare in mind the magnitude of the game yesterday. We’re bottom of the league, we have no manager, the eyes of the world are watching and we’re playing a team that some people regard as ‘local rivals’ (...but we won’t quibble over that).
Yet, despite the considerable dent that their personal profiles have taken in recent months, the likes of Lee Cattermole, Darron Gibson et al couldn’t muster up the type of performance that you’d expect of players that have spent the majority of their careers in the Premier League.
Fact of the matter is that they’re not fit enough or good enough any more.
The next manager of Sunderland has to show serious cojones and wield the axe with these people if they are to stand even half a chance of succeeding at Sunderland.
God knows if anyone would take them, mind, but we need rid of them by whatever means necessary.
Whether you like to hear it or not, it’s fairly evident that their sheer presence around the place is having an impact on the direction of this football club. Until these shirkers are gone and out of the door, we haven’t a hope in hell’s chance of moving forward.
Praise the Lord - a positive goalkeeping performance!
Credit has to be given to Dutch goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter, who in my eyes put in a man of the match-worthy performance yesterday afternoon at the Riverside Stadium.
He was very good throughout I felt, and had it not been for some of his heroics we may have been on the end of a much more severe beating.
Whoever the new Sunderland manager is, they have to stick by Ruiter as our first-choice stopper for the rest of this season. He’s not perfect, and he’s a little slow to get down to the floor, but he’s the best ‘keeper that we have and constantly swapping him and Jason Steele around is doing neither of them any favours.
Darren Randolph at the opposite end of the pitch was the one that took all the plaudits from the Skysports pundits, but Ruiter deserves some recognition for the display he provided - hopefully it’s the first of many good performances from a man who could really do with the confidence boost that generally comes from playing well.
Game over for Stockdale?
Was Sunday the last time that we’ll see Robbie Stockdale in a Sunderland dugout?
There’s not a chance that the former U23s boss will be considered for the permanent manager’s position, but the temptation may well be there to keep him at the club as a coach - a position that he’s held now under a long series of different Sunderland gaffers.
Stockdale’s team selection was negative but I can see what he was trying to do, at least, which isn’t something that I could necessarily say about any of the teams that Simon Grayson picked.
The former Boro defender doesn’t strike me as a particularly bad person or as someone that has a negative influence on the players, but his continued presence doesn’t sit well with me. Whoever the next manager is, they have to be given some wiggle-room on appointing their own staff so that a complete change in mentality occurs about the place.
Can we afford to pay off another member of the backroom team? Probably not. But, even if it’s a reluctant decision, it has to be done if we are to move on.