Chris Wynn says...
It’s the conundrum of our time and has the potential to define the next decade of Sunderland Association Football Club. The outcome will depend entirely on how brave Stewart Donald is feeling right now.
As it stands it seems likely the owner may have used up his quota of brave decisions for the season when he sacked Jack Ross.
The appointment of Parkinson that followed was all about the board feeling they were applying logic - unfortunately it’s gone spectacularly wrong.
I completely disagreed with the appointment of Parkinson but I could see the reasons why they thought it was a good idea. What wasn’t a good idea, however, was offering the new manager a two and a half year contract.
Sacking Ross was a risk, appointing Parkinson was a risk, but to go all in and not protect the club against poor results?! I really hope I’m wrong in assuming that they haven’t placed contingency into that 30 month contract. I’m assuming they haven’t because if they had that protection in the contract, then surely they would have put Parkinson out his misery and reset our season.
They haven’t done so, and this suggests that the financial aspect of making this decision means they want to give as much time as possible before spending a chunk of the recent investment on a mess of their making. It wouldn’t exactly reflect well on the owner who has convinced people to place their faith and cash in himself and his board to then shell out a fortune righting his wrongs - he would quite rightly look like an amateur.
But how will it reflect on his leadership if he sticks his head in the sand and hopes for the best - and then gets exponentially worse? Sticking with Parkinson is a statement from the very top that they’ve given up on any aspiration they might have had for our 2019/20 season. Stewart Donald has been conspicuous in his absence and the silence from the boardroom is deafening.
There is surely a contradiction in making statements that they will make decisions to take this club back to the Championship, then not acting decisively, when their choice as manager relays a message to fans that a point away to Gillingham is something we would take “all day” - especially after sacking a manager who was achieving better results.
When turning around the fortunes of this amazing, fantastic club, with a following that constantly amaze me comes down to counting pennies and an awful amount of hubris, there is no argument that can convince me there isn’t a current dereliction of duty at the top of our football club.
Damian Brown says...
Crap though he may have been so far, sacking a manager after a handful of games is never shrewd business. At times it may be deemed absolutely necessary to do so in order to “save a season”, as we Sunderland fans are all too familiar with. Even in that circumstance though, it’s not a decision to be made lightly.
First of all it’s a huge waste of money. Managerial contracts - even at this level - are lucrative and ironclad. As ridiculous as it is to me, not being good enough is not a justifiable reason to sack someone without paying them off in football. Ludicrous, but them’s the rules. So when Parkinson does go out the window he’s taking a good few hundred grand with him, if not more.
Beyond that it’s a massive waste of crucial time. Though it’s shockingly obvious from their performances that the players haven’t taken a great deal from the manager in terms of style and setup, the couple of months he’s had in the dressing room will be geared towards his style of play and his tactics. Lord knows what they might be cos I certainly don’t. Bringing in another manager with different ideas renders the time spent under Parkinson as a complete waste at a time when we can’t afford any.
The only conceivable reasoning behind keeping him has a lot to do, I think, with why he was hired in the first place. I would suggest that Parkinson got the job based on his knowledge of the division as much as his performance in it. Recruitment is an absolute shambles at Sunderland, and if improvements are going to be made the input has to come from outside the recruitment team. A manager that has been in and around this level for years knows what players are available and which ones suit which style, and similarly to big name managers in the Premier League, one would assume he has the contacts and pull to make those deals happen. That’s the working theory anyway.
On that basis I think he’s safe until February regardless of results. Certainly, if the owner was going to prematurely pull the trigger on Parkinson’s time here, it would have happened by now. Gillingham was low, and I do mean low. It was utterly without logic or promise, and if the owner could stomach that for the sake of giving the manager a “fair” chance, I think he’ll continue to do so by supporting him during the transfer window. Rightly or wrongly.