Dear Roker Report,
I have just been reading the Danny Graham article from the Chronicle regarding Martin O’Neill and Paolo Di Canio, and I am sat thinking: is it just me?
Graham openly talks about the players going on warm weather training and getting blitzed on the plane, and then carrying on drinking until the small hours just before a training session begins.
He mentions being in a nightclub when hearing of Martin O’ Neill being given the sack, and Matt Kilgallon just emptying a tray of drinks on the floor when the players hear they have to return to Sunderland the next day (Kilgallon should have been given a bloody mop and made to clear up the mess he had just purposely made).
He then goes on to say that it was basically through him and other players that Di Canio was given the bullet. Apart from any rights or wrongs regarding Di Canio being given the sack, just who the hell does Danny Graham think he is? Does Graham honestly think the SAFC fans will look upon his revelations about him and the other wasters of that time with anything other than utter contempt? Is he really so far up his own backside that he cannot see that those kinds of scenarios he mentions will do anything other than make us all bloody fume at the antics of those clowns? In a nutshell, Graham has clearly painted all that is wrong with the players wearing the red and white. They simply do not give a jot (as clearly shown against Mansfield the other night).
If other moronic comments such as the ones he came out with are the norm for our club, then we will in no way, shape or form, be promoted this year. We do not know whether that teenager behaviour has been stamped out since those few years ago, or whether the drinking culture is still thriving within the club. UNBELIEVABLE.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I too read that article the other day and thought the same thing. It doesn’t exactly paint him as a good professional, and the story tallies up with much of what we’ve been told about that particular period of time. Di Canio might not have been the right man for the job, but it does feel as though he wasn’t accepted by those players because he wanted to completely change the mentality of the people at the club to a point way beyond where any of them were comfortable to venture.
I listened to Si Ferry on the Undr The Cosh podcast this week and the full episode was about Di Canio’s time at Swindon. It’s essential listening, particularly since it gives you an insight into what it was probably like for Sunderland’s players when he was in charge at our club. Ferry admits that whilst Di Canio was completely batshit mental, he was a fantastic coach, he had the full squad unbelievably fit and playing superb football.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Dear Roker Report,
I have waited until I am not in a post match depression before putting my opinions down, as I am aware that an objective analysis is often better than an emotive rant.
Overall the current League position is a definite positive and sloppy mistakes against Bristol Rogers and Rochdale are frustrating as we could be in an even stronger position. The performance in the cup competitions have been extremely disappointing of late and the FA Cup exit should be of particular concern as it has perhaps highlighted our perceived squad strengths in depth is in fact a area of weakness.
On the playing front:
Goalkeeping = Burge has been OK but is only an average League 1 keeper. Mathews has been poor and this feels like a stricken from last year.
Defence = Generally good and Bailey Wright has been an excellent addition (one of the few championship players at the club). The injuries to defenders has been annoying and Xhemajli was a real shame as Flanagan should be a squad backup as he has regularly shown weaknesses in passing and decision making. The 3 at the back has largely worked although they need to have the ability to pass effectively to get us moving forward.
Midfield = the major area of concern as Leadbitter is the only consistent performer. Power and Dobson in particular have been terrible and should never be paired together. Scowen has been inconsistent but probably gets the right side. Embelton when fit would get the left side and what I’ve seen of Mcfadzean I would have him on the bench as he could do a job here or left wing back.
Wingbacks = these should be considered as attacking options against the majority of league 1 teams because if the back 3 with Leadbitter can’t cope defensively most of the time then they should be embarrassed. Hume and O’Nien are usually solid and with options like Gooch, Diamond, McFadzean and even McLaughlin, this is a strong position.
Attack = Remains a concern. Wyke despite his undeniable limitations has performed well and Maguire offers something when in the mood (wish he didn’t hold onto the ball too long). Graham, Grigg and O’Brien have offered very little and are all so slow and similar. We need a bit of speed and variety which Diamond, Benji and Neil might give if given chance. Gooch remains a possible option.
Finally: Parkinson’s performance has been average at best. He has introduced a clear system which he sticks rigidly to. This means the players must be clear on the job that is expected by the manager. However, he is so risk averse that it undermines what he is trying to achieve. Some players are clearly not good enough for a club that is supposed to be aiming for automatic promotion and yet they fill places on the pitch and bench. He needs to play youth sensibly and be decisive in dropping the underperforming older players. A plan b would help!
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I agree with most of that Peter - good points. I do think we have a squad that should be capable of promotion, but the style of play concerns me and I’m not convinced that it’ll be good enough to get us into the top two and keep us there.
It feels like we’re gambling still. This ‘might’ be enough. But ‘might’ doesn’t cut it any more. We need to feel like promotion is inevitable.