For as long as I’ve been running Roker Report, I don’t think that I’ve seen such a groundswell of opinion against the employment of a manager than I have with Phil Parkinson.
The former Bolton boss was only handed the reins on the 17th of October, and almost instantly it was clear that the majority of supporters weren’t on board with it. There was no immediate lifting of spirits - there was no collective sigh of relief. Sunderland had replaced an unpopular manager with an equally unpopular replacement, and this meant that from the off it was going to be a tough task for Phil Parkinson to not only win over the supporters, but more importantly the players working under him.
I was personally more than willing to give him a chance. I always say that when someone comes to Sunderland - whether that be a player or a manager - that they should be judged on their actions. As much as listening to the views of fans from other clubs is useful - I interviewed fanzine editors from both Bolton and Bradford, who gave differing opinions - ultimately all that matters is how Parkinson fares at Sunderland.
His record so far? Eleven games - 7 defeats, 2 wins, 2 draws.
As bad as that looks, the results themselves are worse. Losing comfortably to an U21s team and a relegation-threatened League Two side was and is embarrassing.
As patient as I am, I’m at a crossroads. I’ve never even considered the possibility of sacking a manager who hasn’t even been here two months before. Is it fair to want rid so soon? Should he at least be afforded the chance to work with the players who have been injured throughout his tenure, like Gooch and Wyke? Should he be given the January window in order to re-shape the squad, move on the ‘bad eggs’ and sign players that will improve us?
It just feels like this has been a bad appointment. If we got rid tomorrow I’d probably applaud the owners for doing so - there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you were wrong, after all. The decision to sack Jack Ross was the right one, but the appointment of his replacement appears to have been a poorly-made decision that could cost us the chance of promotion - is waiting until February or March to ‘judge him’ too late?
Whatever the case may be, it seems many have made up their minds already. Parkinson is seen by the majority of supporters as the wrong man for the job, and they want him out.
The problem is though that evidence suggests he’s going nowhere.
Why would he be allowed to appoint a new first-team coach, on a contract and salary that we’d likely have to dissolve in the event of Parkinson’s departure, if the owners were concerned and were considering the possibility of sacking him? I know that doesn’t tell the whole story - it is possible for a manager to retain staff that was appointed by a previous manager. John Potter, who has since joined back up with Jack Ross at Hibs, was kept around by Parkinson as he liked him and what he brought to the club, after all.
That said, this feels like a clear statement - It’s a show of faith, in that they believe in him to change things around and are happy for him to make a key backroom appointment.
Like it or lump it, I fear that it’s going to take something serious for Parkinson to be replaced. January is just four weeks away and it feels like we’ll attempt to tread water until we can make changes to the squad - though there're no guarantees that we’ll do that early on in the window.
Grin and bear it, lads and lasses. It could be a long month.