When the final whistle blew on Saturday, Phil Parkinson was the luckiest man on Wearside.
He had witnessed his Sunderland side roll over for the third time in a week, most recently off of a team which hadn’t won on their travels in 14 months, and he wasn’t at the mercy of thousands of fans inside the Stadium of Light.
Before last Saturday’s 1-0 humbling by League Two strugglers Mansfield Town, Sunderland had been trudging through the season. One defeat in 10 looks good on paper, but everyone could see the performances simply weren’t good enough. This was questioned in the two cup games and against MK Dons, a side which lay 19th at kick off, we became undone.
Phil Parkinson is an inept, docile manager who is failing to get us on the path to promotion. His failure to pick a strategy to get us playing positive football is matched only by his inability to make necessary changes within the match.
Take the most recent defeat, for example. Parkinson started with three at the back, one of which being a centre mid who gets played as a wing back more often than not (Luke O’Nien) and left an experienced right sided central defender with Championship experience (Dion Sanderson) on the bench.
Then, he waits until the 86th minute, almost 40 minutes after the visitors took the lead, to make a reasonably attack-minded change. He gave Jack Diamond 4 minutes to pull something out of the hat, yet allowed his more senior players to stay on the pitch to put in their latest sluggish performance.
The less said about Will Grigg, the better.
Parky is seemingly doing his best to make the fans hate him, and it is definitely working. The way the pandemic has affected football is giving him a week-to-week get out of jail free card in the form of no fans being allowed in. If supporters were in the SoL today, I dare say it would have been one of the most passionate calls for a manager’s head in recent history.
In the Sky Sports studio on Saturday afternoon was currently out of work Paul Cook. Many in our fan base have been calling for him to replace Parkinson, after the last three performances this number must surely have grown.
Phil Parkinson, your time is up.
You have repeatedly shown that you cannot make Sunderland into a side fit to challenge for promotion, and there is nothing to show that this could change anytime soon. The fans are turning against you without even being able to express their hatred in person; lead our team like that in front of a crowd and you won’t be so lucky.