Recording the Podcast yesterday night was cathartic. It was good hearing the other lads give differing opinions to my own on what they saw, particularly when it came to our manager. Whilst I didn’t necessarily enjoy the scathing nature of what Jimmy was saying about his thoughts on Simon Grayson and his suitability for the Sunderland manager’s job, I couldn’t help but concede that he was most likely right in what he was saying. At the minute, our gaffer looks like a fish out of water.
And it got me thinking. Just how capable is Simon Grayson? Does his style of management suit the attributes of the players that he has at his disposal? For all the talent players like McManaman and Williams have, would a more technically-sound coach have them and the rest of our players ticking along nicer than they are currently? I suppose that only time will tell. It’s still, in fairness, far too early to say.
But... with each passing game we’re seeing more and more flaws in Grayson’s management strategy.
At one-nil up on Saturday, going in to half time, we looked incredibly comfortable. Yet, re-emerging after the break, we sat far too deep and allowed Hull the time and space they needed in order to get themselves back in the game. Their goal always seemed likely and when it came I can hazard that, like me, most of you just shook your heads and shrugged your shoulders.
Granted, it’s always disappointing to throw away a win at such a late stage in the game - a feeling compounded further by the fact another of our ex-players, David Meyler, stuck the knife in - but in truth my abiding memories coming away from it are positive ones. Strange, particularly as I’ve been so despondent of late about Sunderland and everything that surrounds the club.
Our deadline day signings look like proper players, which is a start. Marc Wilson adds balance and experience to a defence that sorely needs it, whilst Jonny Williams and Callum McManaman give our attack line the pace and creative ability it has perhaps been lacking for a few years now. Isn’t it nice to see players capable of taking on their man and producing chances? Small positives, I suppose, but in the mind-numbingly negative world of Sunderland AFC you have to take anything you can get.
All of that said, I still feel Grayson needs to be given time to properly implement his methods and that he’s presently hamstrung by his lack of quality attacking options in depth. Duncan Watmore, Lewis Grabban and Aiden McGeady are huge misses and the more football that we play without them, the harder it becomes to see just what the plan actually is.
Hopefully with those three back fit we’ll see a more fluid and functional Sunderland, one capable of winning games and moving further up the league, but I won’t hold my breath. I just don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about it all. Sitting one place above the relegation zone is obviously not where we want to be, and we have enough talented players to get ourselves further up the table - it’s just the uncertainty of it all that I’m struggling to deal with at the minute.