Dear Roker Report,
Following yet another poor performance against Coventry, there seems to be two schools of thought here about whether the issue is with the players or Parkinson. The reason I think we’re in a nightmare scenario is because I think it’s actually both.
Let’s start with the players we have in our first team and assess if they really are good enough:
J. McLaughlin - Disappointing form this year but an OK back-up.
Burge - Looks like a great buy. 1st team player.
C. McLaughlin - Nothing more than a back-up. Not good enough for the first team.
Lynch - Has done OK overall but not ours.
Willis - Good buy; 1st team player.
Ozturk - I think he’s been solid enough so I’d keep him, certainly as back-up.
Flanagan - Never really impressed me so a back-up only.
Baldwin - Not good enough; sell.
De Bock - Waste of time so let him go.
Hume- Great. First team player.
Power - Can be good but not consistent enough. Back-up only.
Maguire - Great on his day and a passenger the rest of the time. He’s a luxury I’m not sure we can afford.
McGeouch - Not done much wrong but not done much right either.
Gooch - Great at this level so in my 1st team.
O’Nien - Awesome signing!
Embleton - Deserves a run in the team when fit.
Dobson - Looked like a great signing but not consistent enough.
McGeady - Waste of time. For all his talent we always play worse when he’s in the team. Sell.
Robson - PLEASE bring him back ASAP!
Leadbitter - Waste of a team place; sell.
Wyke - Not good enough; sell.
McNulty - Looks like our best (only) striker and he’s not even ours!
Watmore - Can be great but he needs to be sold due to wages and injuries.
Grigg - A well worn traffic cone would be a better striker!
Based on this, I think there is some merit in the argument that our squad is not good enough because the only ones I’d be keen to keep are Burge, Willis, Hume, Gooch, O’Nien, Embleton and Robson. That gives me no RB, only one CB, only a partial midfield and no strikers at all. I wouldn’t shed a tear if any of the rest are sold in January, though I can’t see anyone mad enough to buy Grigg!
All of that would suggest that this isn’t Parkinson’s fault so I understand why some fans want to give him more time but I honestly think they’re wrong because he’s as much of a problem as the players. Just consider what he’s done so far as Sunderland manager:
- Played injured players
- Played people out of position
- Negative tactics
- He’s mostly stuck with the same formation that failed for Ross
- He’s mostly stuck with the same players who underperformed for Ross.
- Ineffective use of substitutes
- He’s apparently fractured the dressing room and it looks like he’s already lost them completely
- A record that is far worse than the man we just sacked while he’s had the same players.
- Utterly bizarre team selections
We were always going to struggle against Coventry as soon as he put Leadbitter, McGeady, Grigg and probably Maguire into the side. That’s almost half of our outfield players who are either completely useless or so seriously out of form they’re effectively useless. In McGeady’s case, we just always play badly when he’s in the team AND he’s out of form. You just can’t win with that many passengers in the team yet that’s the team that Parkinson decided to pick when we do have promising youngsters waiting in the wings.
I’m afraid the reality is that Parkinson is seriously out of his depth and appears to have completely lost the dressing room already, which must be some sort of record! If it was just the players at fault I’d say give Parkinson a transfer window, even though I didn’t want Parkinson in charge but it’s not just the players. Parkinson looks like as much of a dud as many of the players and I think that if he’s given a transfer window, he’ll just make a bad situation worse. If I thought he was likely to stay I might feel differently but I honestly think it is now just a matter of time before Donald has to dismiss him, even if that’s at the end of the season. I see no likelihood at all that he’ll be in charge next season so why let him spend money on players the next manager probably won’t want anyway.
So what next?
In all honesty, I think that this season is a bust already. The automatic promotion spots are effectively out of reach and the longer we hang onto Parkinson, the less likely the play-offs will be. At this rate, if we keep him to the end of the season, we may well be in a relegation scrap because that’s the form we’re showing. Those cup games shouldn’t be ignored. We may not be bothered as fans but make no mistake, Parkinson was trying to win those games, which means they do represent our form under his management - totally hopeless!
Ideally, I’d like to see Parkinson gone by the start of December. In his place I’d ideally like McCarthy but I don’t see that happening. Next up I’d be trying for Stendel and if that fails, I’d put Phillips in charge with an experienced assistant and give him until the end of the season to prove his worth. There are no other credible candidates and while Phillips has no track record, he could hardly do worse than Parkinson. If we can’t get McCarthy or Stendel, we’d have very little to lose and everything to gain by giving Phillips until the end of the season to prove he’s the right man. He would at least have some backing from the fans and he would certainly be motivated to succeed.
I’m sorry Mr Donald, as much as I like you, appointing Parkinson was as idiotic a decision as signing Grigg and the sooner you admit your mistake the better.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: A thoroughly detailed critique, Andrew, thanks for writing in. You make a host of valid points, and I think the fact that Parkinson has failed to get the team firing certainly does raise questions about his suitability for the club. That being said, you’re right, the same players who struggled under Ross continue to do so. I really don’t know what the best course of action is - but our current situation is nothing short of worrying.
Dear Roker Report,
There is no hope of promotion. Do not buy anyone in January. The spend will be wasted. There is so much wrong in all areas, off as well as on the field.
The responsibility lies with the Owners, just like the previous regime. 10 years we suffered that. Only another 8 to go.
A long way back from an incomprehensible mess.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: It’s definitely a worrying situation, David, and it’s tough to see how we get back on track. You're right that the owners need to take responsibility and find a way to get the club moving in the right direction again. Only time will tell as to whether they make the right decisions or not.