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Fan Letters: “Grow a pair Mr. Donald!” - supporters urge Sunderland’s owner to act NOW

“Grow a pair Mr Donald, man up to your mistakes and do something about it. I think you’ll find that a lot of Sunderland fans would be happy to accept you got it wrong” writes RR reader Andrew. Email us:!

Danny Roberts

Dear Roker Report,

The annoying thing about Donald at the moment is that it’s so obvious what is going on that the more he delays sacking Parkinson, the more embarrassing the whole thing becomes. I refuse to believe that Donald still thinks Parkinson was a good appointment and we only have to think about some of the things said since the end of last season.

a) Donald told us that the team was very nearly good enough so just needed a little extra to gain promotion, hence the 100 point target. Does the form under Parkinson really make it look like a team that only needs minor tweaks?

b) When he arrived, Parkinson claimed we were a strong team so his job was just to find that extra 5-10%. Does it still look like we’re just 5-10% away from promotion?

c) Parkinson said he needed some time on the training field and has just had exactly that yet his team selection against Gillingham was the most bizarre I’ve ever seen and we were utterly hopeless in every way.

Donald may have made some silly decisions but he’s a reasonably intelligent man so he must see that Parkinson’s appointment has been catastrophic, largely because the decision to hire him was made by a small group of part timers with no in-depth knowledge of football.

The other thing is that if he REALLY believed that Parkinson is the right man and he’s seeing improvement, wouldn’t he be vocal in telling us? Instead, he’s conspicuous by his total absence and total lack of communication.

OK, so we can take it as read that Donald knows he’s made a colossal mistake in hiring Parkinson, yet he doesn’t sack him so why could that be?

a) He would find it humiliating as the majority of fans told him it was a damn fool idea and that’s also why he won’t speak to anyone in public about it. Even he would find it impossible to defend the indefensible so instead he avoids that conversation. I think this is certainly a factor and I take no pleasure in saying that Mr Donald looks like he’s too proud/stubborn/cowardly (take your pick) to admit he was wrong. Frankly, I’d have a lot more respect for him if he was man enough to admit he was wrong. We all make mistakes and I can accept that but I can’t accept knowing you made a mistake and doing nothing about it.

b) The other main reason Parkinson is in a job is because Donald was daft enough to give him a two and a half year contract that he now can’t afford to buy out. What would our American ‘investors’ say if a sizeable chunk of their ‘investment’ (loan) went on paying off a manager that everyone but Donald knew was a stupid appointment in the first place? I really don’t think he wants to have that conversation so instead, his strategy seems to be to stick his head in the sand and hope the problem goes away.

I really want to see Parkinson sacked as soon as possible but if Donald persists with this foolhardy approach, I expect he will let him limp on to January and gamble that the transfer window will change his luck. It won’t because realistically, it can’t!

To put together a team that effectively plays Parkinson’s style of football, we’d need to change most of the squad and that’s just unrealistic. We might be able to make one or two changes but it’s highly doubtful that such limited changes will make a difference. We don’t have the money to buy real quality, we don’t have the scouting network to unearth young gems and we don’t have the space on the payroll unless we get rid of a few existing players. The trouble is, who would want to buy them, especially on their wages?

Even if Donald did spend money in January, it won’t transform a badly managed team and such expense will only make it even more unlikely he could afford to pay off Parkinson.

I think the point that Donald has to learn from this is that he’s managed to get the club into a very difficult position and at some point, it’s going to be financially painful to address that problem. If he were to pull his head out of the sand (or some other dark area) for five minutes, he’d realise that he’s going to have to take that pain at some point because Parkinson is already a dead man walking so any course of action other than sacking him now is merely compounding the problem.

Grow a pair Mr Donald, man up to your mistakes and do something about it. I think you’ll find that a lot of Sunderland fans would be happy to accept you got it wrong as long as you did something about it and put measures in place to make sure it can never happen again. Most of us are not unreasonable people.

I for one hope Parkinson is gone soon because in a couple of weeks time I’ll be returning to the UK for a month and I really want to watch the Lads play but I’m not attending any matches while Parkinson is still in charge.

Andrew White

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Andrew, thanks for such a well-written summary of the issues at hand, I don’t disagree with anything you have to say. It’s clear to see that Parkinson was a roll of the dice that simply hasn’t worked. I suppose the consideration the ownership now need to settle on is whether it’s financially better for the club to pay off Parkinson, or invest in his vision for the club. Either way, if we don’t get it right it’s going to be costly.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

To Mr Donald.

Where do we go from here.

Week after week we get progressively worse in every department on and off the pitch.

Now I admit I don’t travel to any away games,

But I do read plenty of match reports as well as RR letters, every report shows how negative we are have become.

If you are to save this magnificent club.

You will to act sooner rather than later.

If you no improvement by end of December or even we get beat on Saturday, something drastic will need to be done, PP will have to go.

New manager Stendhl. End of season contract and extend it if he saves us and looks good for next season.

PP long term contract big mistake and will cost us.


Ed’s Note [Tom]: Unfortunately, Stendel is now managing Hearts. Something drastic does need to change, I’m just not sure when, how, or why. As you noted, the ball is firmly in Stewart Donald’s hands.


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