Upon his initial appointment, I was impressed by Simon Grayson. He talked a good game and attempted to publicly heal the wounds of relegation by preaching understanding and solidarity.
His handling of the Darron Gibson PR gaff was impressive. Similarly, the way Grayson managed to lift the team following the 5-0 Celtic drubbing provided much cause for optimism.
Above all, Grayson gave the impression that he desperately wanted to be at Sunderland, he saw the club as a step up in his managerial career; it seemed like an honour almost. This in stark contrast to the misery of David Moyes.
However, for me it now feels like the Sunderland job is a step too far for the Yorkshireman.
Grayson failed to win any of his last six league games as Preston manager and has managed a measly one win in ten with Sunderland in the Championship. That’s one win in sixteen league games. Sunderland’s form during his tenure as manager is enough alone to warrant a serious questioning of his credentials, and even perhaps a dismissal.
Moreover, the ex-Preston boss has proven himself to be tactically inept time after time. Failure to recognise that Lee Cattermole struggles to play in a midfield two has cost the team dearly, yet Grayson has persisted with a midfield two, leaving Cattermole with just a singular partner in either a 5-4-1 formation or 4-2-3-1 variation. Catts simply hadn't got the legs anymore to be effective in such a system, and if I can see it, why can't Grayson?
Against Derby, with the game poised at 1-1, proceedings were screaming out for the flair and quality of Whabi Khazri, but Grayson left the Tunisian on the bench. When 1-0 up against Hull, what did Grayson do? He substituted Callum McManaman and Johnny Williams, replacing the pair with Jack Rodwell and Billy Jones. Begging Hull to score an equaliser, which of course, they duly did.
And let’s not even go into with regard to the bizarre decision to play three right-backs against Everton in the Carabao Cup.
This squad has clear flaws, but don't most Championship teams? I refuse to believe that with the talent available Grayson couldn’t at the very least set up to be solid defensively.
Shipping five goals to Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich - whose teams are not traditionally renowned for attacking prowess - is criminal. The Tractor Boys finished 16th in the Championship last campaign, yet they walked over use yesterday.
Consider the other opposition we’ve fallen afoul to. Sheffield United are a newly promoted side, the Blades came to the Stadium of Light and controlled the game. Nottingham Forest narrowly avoided relegation to League One, surviving at the expense of Blackburn Rovers by goal difference. Barnsley played their football in League One just two years ago. All dispatched our side with relative ease.
Sunderland are the only side in the Championship not to have kept a clean sheet. This is a league with Burton Albion and Brentford competing in it. And without sounding arrogant, quite frankly, it's embarrassing. With the exception of Bolton there isn't an easier team to play in the division than Sunderland.
Six points from ten games leads me to believe that League One is where Simon Grayson’s Sunderland are headed. Change is needed to halt this horrific downward spiral.
For me, it’s thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Grayson.
Do you agree/disagree with what Copley has had to say? Leave us a comment below.