Q: How worried are you about our form since Phil Parkinson was appointed as manager? Are you still trying to be patient, or are you beginning to panic?
Damian Brown says...
I feel like resignation is more apt than worry or panic.
I am worried in a sense, but whether I should be worried about the edicts laid about by Parkinson, or his players’ ability to follow them, I don’t know. I think that’s perhaps the most worrying aspect - the truth is obfuscated by a dozen things: desire as a team to engage in the cups; individual desire of players; Parkinson’s stuttering start to the season - these are all pertinent topics to delve into.
Equally, those topics raise question: if players are discontented, why? A new manager bringing in a new ethos with a new idea of who plays which role? General mental exhaustion? Disconnect with the fans/staff/club? Or are they simply not fit for purpose?
Considering the common knowledge that the squad has been sorely lacking in key areas for potentially longer than we’ve been out of the Premier League, and these issues have yet to be addressed to this day, it would seem more reasonable to lean towards patience than panic.
In two months the January transfer window opens. What are we going to do between now and then? Are we going to fire our brand spanking new manager? I doubt it, the cost alone would be less than shrewd to say the least. But if the issue is more than a simple matter of fitting the square peg in the square hole, and transfers aren’t the be all and end all of the problems that seem to persist through divisions and managers - what good will a few more “bargain” buys bring us?
Ultimately though that’s the only logical route to take; endure the turbulence until there’s a chance to bring in a Parkinson-style player or four, and see how that pans out. It’s by no means where I want to be at this stage, and it’s by no means in itself an endorsement of Sunderland AFC that we are in this position, but if there’s one way I’d honestly describe us right now it’s that we’re dead set on a course and we don’t have much more than a bit of (arguably unwarranted) faith to see us through.
I had hoped we were past this well known cycle of uncertainty. Evidently not.
Craig Davies says...
Nah. Not panic. Sunderland are sucking my emotional energy so rapidly I don’t think I’ve enough in the tank to spike towards the enthusiasm I’d need for ‘panic.
’ I’m reminding myself of the old John Stott quote that says “apathy is the acceptance of the unacceptable,” and I’m trying to refuel my psyche with enough power to muster a renewed spirit of passion that can keep the dangers of apathy at bay. Parkinson has thus far flopped.
Let’s be honest - the new manager bounce effect has had all the spring of a large rock dropped into the ocean. He was an underwhelming signing for many a supporter and it appears from a performance and statistical point of view, that his players are equally as underwhelmed.
It would appear that either their loyalty to Ross runs so deep they’re hurt by his departure and won’t play or they’re just genuinely this mediocre and would have struggled for consistency and confidence even if he’d stayed.
Perhaps it’s a little of both. Chris Maguire said recently after fan criticism that “we’re not machines,” which is fair. But you could try to be players every now and again though, surely? Parkinson, like Ross before him, is finding that success at Bradford or St. Mirren does not equate to success at Sunderland. We’re swallowing them up and spitting them out rightly or wrongly. We seem to big a job for them on all fronts.
However, if Parkinson can straddle that gap and win over the players there is every hope he can use his experience to lead us into an upward trajectory.
Would I bet my house that we’re nailed on promotion contenders this season? No. With little vision, no strikers, ownership confusion, vague investment, Donald treating us like an exhausting ex-wife his therapist advised he should avoid to achieve inner-peace, and players who look bored and uninspired, promotion seems miles away right now.
If FPP don’t simply take over the club eventually I may begin to panic but until then, dull, dreary disappointment will have to do.
Phil West says...
I’m still erring on the side of patience, but I’m growing increasingly alarmed by the apparent lack of impact that Parkinson is having. The statistics don’t lie. He isn’t winning enough games of football, and sometimes cold hard facts are the best barometer by which to judge progress.
Yes, there have been some flashes of promise during his reign so far, but that’s been almost completely overshadowed by mediocre results and far too many players performing at levels that we simply can’t accept.
That isn’t entirely Parkinson’s fault, but, as is the way in football, the manager is always first into the firing line when things go pear-shaped. Is he clashing with the players on the training ground? Did Jack Ross put these players into a comfort zone, from which Parkinson is trying to remove them, only to be met with nothing in response? I’ve said that I want him to weed out the shirkers. So far, there’s precious little evidence to suggest he’s doing that.
Only a victory against Coventry, set against the backdrop of a much-improved performance, will quell the rising anger that is growing with every defeat.
If that means Parkinson dropping his so-called big-name players and replacing them with some academy prospects, I would be all for that. Why not shake things up and try a change of direction? Starting games of football for Sunderland AFC is nobody’s birthright, regardless of how well they performed last season, and too many of our players are playing with a casual attitude and a ‘so what’ kind of mentality.
Parkinson needs to get firm, dent some egos, and attempt to get some wind back into the sails of a vessel that is currently drifting without any real sense of direction or purpose.