Every single thing about our horrific start to life as a second-tier club should, in theory, have us looking for change at managerial level. Simon Grayson looks well out of his depth and with each passing defeat, concern grows further over whether or not he’s capable of steering us away from the depths of the Championship relegation zone.
Results have been poor, but that only tells half of the story. The performances are far, far worse than some of our scorelines suggest. We’ve not kept a clean sheet all season, we’ve won just one league game in ten and we’ve conceded 19 goals - the second worst defensive record in the division.
These players - some of them his, some of them inherited - are simply not playing for the Sunderland manager. They aren’t buying in to his methods, they don’t look as though they have an idea of what they’re supposed to be doing. Some are being asked to play out of position, some look tired, some look unfit - and other just don’t appear to be motivated whatsoever.
Lets say we sack him. We part ways, we look elsewhere. Granted, our options are slim, but there certainly are other decent managers out there - though whether this regime are capable of looking for someone from beyond these shores is another argument entirely. Clubs like Leeds, Norwich and Huddersfield have been able to pull left-field managerial appointments out of their arses in recent times - provided you’re open-minded enough, other Championship clubs have proven that you can bring in unheralded names capable of doing a good job at this level.
But even then - would sacking our manager really make any difference? Granted, we might see an initial upturn in fortunes, and I certainly believe that Grayson isn’t getting enough from these players, but how much better does this really get for us?
It’s clear, I think, that real, positive change is only possible when Ellis Short leaves this football club. He’s the one constant throughout all of our recent struggles - and until he’s gone, I don’t foresee Sunderland’s situation improving whatsoever.
The decision-makers at this club will only replace Grayson with another uninspiring manager, another cookie-cutter appointment that will still have an underwhelming squad to work with; another man in charge that will still more than likely find himself forced to sell his best players in January without getting a budget good enough to properly replace them.
Whoever is Sunderland’s next manager will have the same limitations that Grayson and so many other managers before him have had placed upon them. This is an unappealing, uninspiring job, where every decision is intensely scrutinised and there’s little to no money in order for you to make the changes on a playing level to put things right.
I’m genuinely torn, as I imagine many other Sunderland supporters are too. It’s pretty obvious that Simon Grayson isn’t the right man for the job but I’m not even sure that there’s any manager capable of coming in and fixing this almighty mess. I suppose, short term, we could use the lift of having a new man come in, but unless that man is someone like a Roy Keane or Sam Allardyce - someone that would have the immediate backing of the fanbase - then how much will really change?
Do we get behind ‘nice guy’ Grayson in the hope that he gets this right, or do we just cut our losses now and move on to the next mug?
I’m stuck. It certainly doesn’t feel as though we have a way out - and, as per usual it’s us fans that just have to sit here, pay our money and take it. I’ve never felt so despondent in my whole life.