Dear Roker Report,
I imagine this topic is overwhelmingly the subject of most of the letters you’re receiving at the moment, but to be honest it’s very difficult to look much further right now...
Previously I’d never been one for shouting for managers to be sacked (maybe Moyes aside) but then previously we’ve never been sat drifting into league one mediocrity (or worse).
I have a lot of time for Stewart Donald and don’t buy into the idea that he’s only ever been in it to make a quick buck (although had we been promoted last year and he’d sold up and rode off into the sunset with a tidy profit I’m sure no one would have blamed him, in fact he have probably gotten a big pat on the back and been remembered as the man who saved the club).
I honestly think he’s a genuine football supporter who can’t believe his luck in owning a club like Sunderland. His heart is in the right place.
But now is the time for him to hold his hands up and admit he’s made a huge mistake.
Phil Parkinson was not the man for the job and no manager, regardless of their name or ‘references from those in the game’ should have been given a two and a half year contract in our situation where promotion was imperative.
I can understand to a point the arguments against making another change, but to me these seem like stubbornness and a worry of what those in the wider footballing world will think... “Oh there’s Sunderland, the basket case of a club, sacking another manager. Who in their right mind would take that job now?”
I also don’t understand the notion that there is no one better out there. Three names immediately jump out as significant improvements on what we currently have: Daniel Stendel (if we were to act quickly before he’s snapped up by Hearts) who played brilliant, attacking, intense football to win promotion from this league and now that his contractual situation with Barnsley has been resolved is now available. - Nathan Jones, recently available and who has a track record of promotions with an entertaining style. - And perhaps a slightly longer shot but certainly not out of the question is Neil Warnock, who maybe isn’t going to be bringing the most expansive, free flowing football we’d have ever seen but you can’t tell me he wouldn’t light a fire under some of the players currently sleepwalking through games.
Romantics will always shout for Kevin Phillips but lets be honest, that has disaster written all over it! While fantasists will believe it should be Pearson, Hughton, or that the club should move heaven and earth to bring Big Sam back, but come on! Suggestions like these aren’t helpful and really just give a further excuse to those who think Parkinson should remain by saying expectations of who could succeed him are massively unrealistic.
I believe that Stewart Donald and co. have been complacent and a little arrogant in this appointment. Seemingly convinced that no matter what we’re served up on a Saturday we’ll keep coming back and the attendances will never dip much below the 29,000 mark that I seem to recall hearing that their business model is built on. (I might be a little bit off with that number but you get my point). If they force people to endure performances and “tactics” like those we’ve seen in the last two home games I’m pretty sure the numbers will begin to drop away rapidly. While the season card sales may rescue that figures this season, next year might just be a big shock to them.
Sorry for what seems like a hugely negative rant but it’s tough to be an optimist at this point.... Maybe I just need a rousing Phil Parkinson pep talk to re-ignite my enthusiasm!
Ed’s Note [Gav]: “I honestly think he’s a genuine football supporter who can’t believe his luck in owning a club like Sunderland. His heart is in the right place.” I completely agree. That doesn’t make him immune to criticism of course, but I do believe he just wants to be successful here and leave us in a better state than he found us.
Things aren’t going to plan, but it’s not too late to save our season. He’s probably got to make up his mind soon on Parkinson, what with January around the corner, and we have to look seriously at bringing in a Director of Football to take away the footballing responsibility from him on a day-to-day basis. I think that if he can make some big, tough decisions we’ll get back on track - the alternative is that things continue as they are in the hope that Parkinson turns things around and gets us competitive again.
Either way, he’s got to have some big bollocks to stand by his decisions. Whatever happens, the decisions taken have to be done for the good of the club’s long term future.
Dear Roker Report,
My suggestion may be totally off the wall, but I’m going to make it anyway!
Peter Reid, Sunderland’s most successful manager in the last 60 years is still involved in football, with Wigan. Is it totally beyond the bounds of possibility that he could still do a job at SOL? Desperate times call for desperate measures.
There is a precedent a few miles up the road. The Mags, after their Ruud Gullit era were heading for relegation and desperate for someone to take over. They found their saviour in the 66-year old Bobby Robson. He not only saved them, he got them into the Champions League a couple of years later.
I repeat - is it really beyond the bounds of possibility that Peter Reid could do a similar rescue job for Sunderland?
He certainly wouldn’t be scared to put some stick about, and, to be honest, that seems to be what is needed at the moment. Sunderland have good players, but their performances since Parkinson took over (Tranmere excepted) have created new levels of underachievement. The proverbial boot up the backside, accompanied by a typical Peter Reid bollocking might do the world of good.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Reid’s successful Sunderland side had a fantastic team spirit and were an infamous drinking group, but those days are gone. Everything in the modern game is ultra-professional and coaching has moved on from the days of making the players run on the sand dunes down the beach, or screaming at people to the point they were scared of making a mistake.
I think Reid’s time came and went many years ago. Whilst he’s likely a valuable commodity to Paul Cook at Wigan, I doubt his style of management would wash with modern players. As much as I love the romantic idea of somehow being able to replicate the good old days, some things are better off left in the past.