Energy + Application = Three points
Football is pretty simple, isn’t it? Particularly in League One, where the teams at the top tend to be the ones who work hardest and are ‘greater than the sum of their parts’, to borrow an oft-used turn of phrase.
For probably the first time since Sunderland battered Tranmere in Phil Parkinson’s second game in charge we saw our team work harder than their opponents, and the end result was a well-deserved victory and three points.
We out-ran, out-fought and out-played our opponents, who were admittedly very poor. Still, you have to do your own job to the best of your ability in the hope that you get what you deserve, and I feel that we did just that.
Lynden Gooch in particular stood out, and his quality at the top end of the pitch made the difference as he had a hand in one goal and scored the other. His enthusiasm and drive seemed to spur other players on, with Hume and Wyke enjoying good displays as a result of their link-up play with the American forward.
It’s obvious but it’s true - if our players can go out and give the extra 10-15% like they did today, they’ll outwork most teams and their quality will shine through. This has to be a stepping stone towards more better performances - take confidence from it, remember how good it felt to celebrate with those 4000 fans in attendance, and kick on.
Parkinson still needs to go, but won’t
I’m still unmoved on my opinions of our manager, even despite the improved performance. We’ve still only won three games in 15 since he arrived, so it’s a good result, but we’re still some way from being convinced by Parkinson or giving him some credit.
One thing that I think is fair to say is that the players gave it their all, and that at least tells us that they haven’t stopped playing for him. It would have been easy for all the players to down tools after the events of this past week but that performance definitely felt like a response, and you have to surmise that Parkinson played some part in that.
I’ve accepted that we’re stuck with him, through January at least, because if he was going to be sacked it should have been a month ago.
He’ll be allowed to bring in some players and move others on during the transfer window, so I can only presume that he’ll hold off being judged fully by the people in charge until after the point where he can be absolved of any blame for the squad he’s responsible for.
Problems remain - don’t get distracted
It was interesting reading what the “told you so” crew had to say on social media after the game, as though one win makes a difference in the grand scheme of things regarding the movement which started on Friday regarding the position of our owner.
Not everyone wants to see change, and that is absolutely fine.
But if you don’t agree with those that do, don’t go gloating when there’s really no need to gloat. My own reasons will differ from those held by someone else, and it’s important to respect that. I personally won’t change my view on the owner unless he shows he’s willing to run the club to the standard befitting of one this size, and a game of football he had no involvement in does not change that in the slightest.
Sure, it’ll maybe ease the calls for him to sack Parkinson until the Fleetwood game, but it ultimately means very little until operational and leadership changes are made to ensure that the club is being left in the best possible hands, ran in the best possible way.
But that is just my opinion.
Ultimately, we all want the same thing - for Sunderland to be in a healthy, happy place.
Enjoy the win — we’ve deserved a bit of happiness. But do not get distracted, and allow yourself to think about the bigger picture at all times.