Dear Roker Report,
I’m writing this right after the latest shambles, I mean game. This time against Burton. So I’ll do my best to not rage or write anything untoward.
I don’t think that Sunderland owner Stewart Donald is up to running this club. I’ve never really gone after him as some have as I don’t think he’s a chancer and I do think he genuinely wants to do well for us. The problem is he can’t. I will always appreciate what he did to balance the books and trim the fat. What he did was incredible. We needed him to be a leader and he was because his expertise lies in business, not football. However, everything after that has been a sharp decline.
He’s not got a strong football mind as far as I can see and I take great offence to Damian’s suggestion on the last round of letters when he said: ”The idea that two former owners of a football club who now own this football club can’t be ‘footballing men’ is not only nonsensical, it’s lazy to produce in an argument.”
What on earth is that comment about? I mean, have you looked around at the state of this club? We are a complete and utter shambles from top to bottom. Let’s examine.
He listens to Hill and Coton, who have really gotten things wrong since they’ve been here. To say our recruitment has been horrible is an understatement. There are far more Connor McLaughlins and DeBocks than there are Dobsons and Dobson is only doing so so. Our recruitment has simply not been up to scratch. It hasn’t and we can all see it. Sure, we are now investing in the scouting and recruitment departments, but what’s the point when it’s overseen by 2 people who have failed at their every remit?
He listens to Hill and Coton in hiring Parkinson, who was never going to be the right appointment, because they thought he was a good fit. Has he been promoted a few times? Yes, but he’s also been relegated. His winning percentage was woeful, but hey, lets bring him in because he has a couple of promotions on his cv, right? They got this appointment wrong. I know they are not his players, but we are declining rapidly with each passing game he’s allowed to stay in charge of.
Donald also won’t spend 2.6 million on Maddison, a player with the talent our club is screaming out for. He’s dying to play for us but we won’t pay the fee. It’s like Yann M’Vila all over again. But he has the foolish gall to come out and proclaim that we’ll be going for a 100 point season. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. Either that or he’s making the wrong choice, every single time.
This guy has taken us from a Premier/Championship side that was transitioning to an upper, top tier League one side, to a full on awful League one relegation side. He says the new investors are investing in his management of the club? What could they be investing in? All we do is get worse and there’s no bottom in sight.
Yes, we’re investing in scouting, but who actually trusts Hill and Coton to get things right? Yes Donald speaks a big game about 100 point seasons yet doesn’t spend pretty much anything, nor will he pay for a player like Maddison, who we need to even get near the 100 point season he said we were going to have. He fires Ross only to bring in the guy everyone could see was NOT right for the club. We need to attack. We need a Stendel. Not getting a single shot on net over the course of a game is disgraceful.
This guy has to sell up or step back from running the club. He is failing in everything he’s trying to change. He needs to fire Hill and Coton. We are in free fall and make no mistake, we could be relegated.
Stewart Donald, you are ruining the club, and for goodness sake, replace the manager and admit your mistake.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I think that everyone can see the problems that the club faces currently. The players, in the main, are not cutting it. There’s a combination of non-existent leadership and egos that is only worsening our predicament with each passing game.
The completely uninspiring manager is not helping matters either. Parkinson wasn’t a popular choice with supporters and clearly the players aren’t buying into his methods.
So where do we go from here with it? Well, we could sack him and hope the next manager has more of a positive effect on these players. I’d go down this route, as extreme as it may seem - Neil Warnock is available and would be perfect for us. I don’t feel confident that he’ll be sacked, but if there’s any chance of it happening it needs to be done while Warnock is available.
And onto Stewart Donald. I actually agree with what you’ve said - I’m appreciative of what he did early in his tenure, and last season was good fun even if we did ultimately fail across the board to achieve what we set out to do. What has been clear since the summer is that Stewart’s enthusiasm for his role as club chairman has waned. He’s taken a lot of the criticism to heart and in trying to sell the club we’ve halted any chance of progression - and all of this has happened on his watch.
I think that you’re right - Stewart and the club would probably benefit from this relationship coming to an end sooner rather than later. I say it often, but certain types of characters do well at this club and I’m not sure that Stewart is the type of bloke who thrives under pressure. There’s no harm in admitting that. As much as I’d like to see him do well here, the current situation is harming the club more than it is helping it. Some radical decisions have to be taken if we are going to save this season.
The football side of the club has felt neglected somewhat and I think that appointing a Director of Football could be crucial.
They need someone in charge of the football side of the club that knows what they are doing, to alleviate some of the pressure on not only the manager but the people above that who really shouldn’t be spending the bulk of their time dealing with footballing issues.
This is an almighty mess and I’m not sure we’ll see any drastic improvements any time soon.
Dear Roker Report,
I have to admit, I didn’t expect 100 points this season but I expected a lot more than what had been delivered to date.
Our squad of players are only good enough for the level they are playing at, most seemingly can only use one foot, often look uncomfortable in possession and struggle to pass the ball with any real purpose.
The run we are on is a cause of major concern, brings back haunting memories of that fateful relegation from the championship.
The unity we felt last season seems to have all but evaporated. Time for leaders to step up both on and off the pitch!
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I still believe that this squad is capable of far more than we are seeing. The issue isn’t necessarily with the overall ability of our players, it’s with their stinking attitudes. Aiden McGeady should be a twenty-goal-a-season attacker at this level. So should Will Grigg. Chris Maguire is better than we’re seeing. Duncan Watmore is better than we are seeing. Max Power is better than we are seeing. And so on and so on.
The team who are currently top of the league are Wycombe Wanderers - the epitomé of being ‘more than the sum of their parts’. They’re ruthlessly driven, have a manager in charge who has all of the players on side, they have a clear way of playing, everyone knows their jobs in the side, they fear nobody, and are under no illusions regarding their goals for the season ahead.
Sunderland’s players, manager, owners, recruitment team and fans are all on different pages right now. January cannot come soon enough, where we have to be ruthless and not only get rid of anyone who doesn’t want to be here, but also bring quality players to the club who will actually improve us. I’m not holding my breath.