Dear Roker Report,
I think there’s one word that seems to be floating around about the appointment of Phil Parkinson: ‘Uninspiring’. If you want to go further into football cliché, there’s a nice selection of phrases doing the rounds: ‘Safe pair of hands’, ‘experienced at this level’, ‘we’re a league one club, this is a league one appointment’.
There are a few bright spots on his record to offer a counterpoint – getting Bolton promoted on a pittance, along with north-east journalist Mark Douglas’ positive article about how he ‘saved Bradford’.
The problem from my perspective is that we’re throwing out any pretence of building something. This isn’t a ‘project’ or a ‘plan’. This is a roll of the dice, an appointment made from desperation, underlined by the fact that we really need to get the f**k out of this division.
In other words, this is short-termism, which is something we’ve seen the disastrous effects of at Sunderland again and again – it’s what got us here in the first place. It’s also almost the exact opposite of the vision for the club initially floated by messrs Donald and Methven.
Maybe this is unfair on Parkinson, by most accounts he’s proven capable enough and nearly always operated on a miniscule budget. Maybe he’s earned the opportunity to work at a bigger club, with a bigger budget and obviously I hope that’s the case.
It’s just difficult to shake the feeling that we’ve been here before, with short-term thinking, panic-firings and a conveyor belt of underwhelming appointments. Let’s hope Mr Parkinson can break that cycle.
Michael Johnson (Gibraltar)
Ed’s Note [Damian]: I’d start by challenging the notion than an uninspiring decision can simultaneously be a roll of the dice. Rolling the dice would have been conceding to the thousands of frankly naive supporters that believe Kevin Phillips should be put in charge because he scored all those goals that one time, or that Roy Keane is the messiah because he’ll tell everyone to f**k off and do their jobs.
I too feel a sense of trepidation at the appointment of what I would deem another journeyman manager, having spent my days in my own naive world dreaming of big investment convincing a managerial behemoth like Allardyce to take on a “proper project”. I don’t think there are many fans that will be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of Parkinson. Perhaps they should be, though? By all accounts Parkinson’s style of football is something we’ve been crying out for. Jack Ross wasn’t laid low by his recent results; a lack of attacking intent was the nail in his coffin because the fans were bored to tears. If Parkinson can change that, more’s the better. The real question we all have to ask ourselves is - do we all have the patience to allow him to succeed?
Dear Roker Report,
So, the second chapter of our journey back to where Sunderland belongs begins with the appointment of Phil Parkinson as our fourth manager in three seasons. While the appointment is underwhelming, the mindset of many people regarding the decision is quite worrisome.
The overwhelming response seems to essentially be that yeah he has the CV proving an ability to get promoted out of League One, but don’t really think he has enough to push us on in the Championship. Did I miss something? The last I checked we’re playing in League One and that should have been apparent as we watched the lads be battered by Lincoln City. If last season taught us anything, it should have taught us that promotion from this division is not some forgone conclusion or footballing birthright because we’re Sunderland.
I’ve also seen a lot about how the appointment is a cheap, short-term solution which should reflect negatively on the competency of Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven. This needs to be made very clear, WE HAVE ONE GOAL RIGHT NOW and that goal is promotion. Yes, Parkinson is no Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, but the man has led two other clubs in much worse circumstances out of this league. Parkinson appears to be the most qualified person to achieve what needs to be done at a reasonable price, which anywhere else is called good business.
Sunderland can only take one step at a time on the climb back up the ladder, but if all we can focus on is what we’re going to do on the next step then we’re going to keep slipping on our current one. If we get to the Championship, are we all going to start immediately saying, “Aye, he got us promoted from League One, but don’t really know if he’s the man to make us a top-half Premier League side”?
Focus on now. Focus on how can Sunderland be a top League One side now because so far this year we haven’t been. I’m very much a realist and the reality is the club needs to win promotion, but I don’t really understand what anyone hopes to achieve with blatant negativity and misplaced priorities. We have a good squad and now a manager with a track record of League One promotions, which is more than we could say two weeks ago. Get behind the lads and be the catalyst that gets us out of this miserable league.
Daniel Spaulding - Cocoa, FL
Ed’s Note [Damian]: Well said, Daniel.