Q: What are your thoughts on the appointment of Phil Parkinson as Sunderland’s new manager?
Neil Graney says...
You could argue the sacking of Ross was the first real crisis point under the new ownership. Given the recent history, fans have a right to be constantly nervous, to be expecting the worst. I think this was the club’s opportunity to arrest the fall in momentum and quell growing criticism by appointing a big name or a fans favourite.
The problem being, football clubs should never appoint managers based on what the fans want, because many fans what something different. They are passionate and they are informed, but only to an extent.
Look at Ole at Manchester United, appointed on the back of a swell of positivity from his former teammates and fans. He could be sacked this weekend. He failed at Cardiff and his only success came in the Norwegian league - a fans appointment if I ever saw one!
I’ll give Parkinson the time and support he deserves. I can guarantee those criticising his style of play have never seen more than 4-5 games he’s managed. Opinions are informed from one off games and/or what we read from other fans - that’s a very small number of opinions, which skews our perception - i.e. Ainsworth’s ‘dirty’ approach perception is based on our game down there last season.
Overall Parkinson’s record is good. Three promotions (more than any of the front runners), a knack of keeping clean sheets - clean sheets and promotion is what we need right now.
If you’re sitting there disappointed, fuming and name-calling about a bloke who hasn’t been in the job less than a day, think about how divisive you’re being. We are all entitled to an opinion, but let’s make sure it’s balanced.
Forget the takeover rhetoric and let’s focus on backing the new manager to the hilt.
Luton started their run just about now, last season... why can’t Sunderland! And yeah, if I’m wrong and Parkinson fails, I’ll criticise like anyone else, but I refuse to put a downer on an appointment before a ball has been kicked.
The analogy about Sunderland being a big ship which needs someone to turn it round - that’s never going to happen unless all, including the fans, are pulling in the right direction.
James Nickels says...
First, I’ll preface this by saying that Phil Parkinson wouldn’t have been any of my top three choices - it was underwhelming at first and does smack somewhat of short-termism and getting promoted on the cheap.
That said, there is no short way of analysing this appointment. He has his pros and cons, just as with every other realistic name on the shortlist available to the club. In truth, none were the one outstanding choice, but all are better than Jack Ross towards the end of his tenure.
I had personally hoped for Daniel Stendel, but that is by-the-by. Parkinson, on a short-term deal, it could be a shrewd appointment at achieving one sole aim - to get out of League One this season. He has a proven track record of achieving promotion with very little resources and knows the league inside-out. Ross’ biggest downfall was the severe lack of knowledge and experience of League One throughout his whole backroom staff.
By all accounts he plays pretty turgid football, but if it gets us up this season I’ll be happy, and we can re-evaluate in the summer. A rebuild of the footballing side of the club is necessary anyway, along with the potential investment. We need an overhaul of the footballing side of the board - a Director of Football with a vision and men to implement it on the pitch, in the academy and within recruitment. Ross couldn’t do that and I doubt that Donald, Methven, Coton and Parkinson can.
But for now, mid-season and already lying ninth, maybe that can be addressed in the summer and focus all attentions to getting out of the league right. Parkinson can bring that. Our biggest issues on the pitch are an inability to keep clean sheets and see out games. In each of his promotions he has setup the best defence in the league twice and second best once. In each his sides kept more clean sheets than anyone else too, with current number one (debatable, I know) Jon McLaughlin a former player of Parkinson’s at Bradford City.
The football likely won’t be pretty, but if he can tighten up the defence and get the best out of misfiring Will Grigg and other strikers in the side, then we should be getting promotion come the end of the season.
Craig Davies says...
The chaotic reaction to Phil Parkinson is not just limited to the man himself - he’s the unfortunate victim of a string of disappointing factors that understandably have fans frustrated and worried. Sure, he’s not got a five-star reputation and his name when mentioned immediately springs images of depressed mill towns and empty factories, broken football clubs and lower league journeymen. But he does have promotions from this very league on his CV, and ultimately this is what we’re after.
I understand the angst though. With social media conspiracy theories tightening around fans like an angry python and the owner seemingly back-tracking from being ebulliently expressive and open, to a secretive closed book in the midst of confusion and exasperation, it’s clear there are some justifiable reasons for supporter anxiety.
It’s depressing to see the toxicity and painful to witness the accusations and finger-pointing. Sadly for Parkinson he has arrived at a time of sunken hopes, at the back end of a dispiriting last four years of footballing mediocrity.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter what any of his devouring critics or his optimistic allies have to say now. He’ll win friends or lose support depending on results on the pitch. That’s it. End of. It’s not up to supporters to make this a success.
Only he can change the minds of his dissenters one way or the other and as a supporter of this club, I sincerely hope he does. Not for him, but for us.
Tom Albrighton says...
Whilst my issue with Parkinson’s appointment isn’t with Parkinson himself, there is legitimate cause for question. It isn't a unique angle to want a manager to succeed - very few fans, if any, want to see their club fail. This however doesn’t relieve the cause for concern regarding Parkinson’s appointment.
Whilst Donald and Methven have continually pushed a rhetoric suggesting every decision they make is for the good on the club and their self-professed long term vision, Parkinson represents a short term solution to a longer term problem.
The “cheap” option of the candidates mooted he may have been, but he is also, in my eyes, the easiest option. It can be argued his time in the lower leagues stands him in good stead for the challenge he faces, but he also faces a challenge posed by fans the likes of which League One has rarely seen.
His penchant for long ball football is well documented, as is Sunderland’s inability to play that brand of football. My main concern lies in the notion that teams who have escaped the lower leagues and now reside in loftier climbs have done so by having a steadfast belief in a brand and style of not only football, but their managers and the actions of the club.
With Parkinson, whatever the outcome, another shift in those things will likely follow. I wish Parkinson the best, but I’m apprehensive about the appointment. To me, it’s a short term solution to a longer term issue.