Dear Roker Report,
There are several debates swirling around at the moment about the veritable merits or not of our current managerial incumbent and whether he should be still in the position to effect the club’s future going forward. I’ll declare immediately my position on this matter and its one of absolute incredulation that he is actually still here to influence this debate. How he wasn’t simply dismissed 5 minutes after the EFL’s hapless hatchet job demoted us to 8th in league one (our lowest league position in 140 years) is beyond me.
Let’s remember, he didn’t taken over a basket case club after Ross, we were in the play off positions and just required someone to come in and build on that to take us up those 4 or 5 places to promotion. At the absolute minimum the top 6 was the not to difficult task at hand and surely that’s not such an exorbitant demand from us as fans. Is it? Sunderland AFC to be in the top 6 of league one? My mother could have delivered that given our squad and the pitiful standards in league one of most of the clubs involved (many of them ones PP or Ross couldn’t beat by the way) and not a demand that makes us greedy or too demanding surely. When the axe did fall on the ill fated 19/20 season, we were 7th so can’t really argue about our participation in any play off games tbh and the fact we were demoted to 8th in the then calculated crazy aftermath is due mostly to Parkinson terrible results in his first dozen games anyway. In 25 games he managed to take us from promotion hopefuls to absolute chumps and yet I hear the cry about sacking managers and having some stability yet again.
Whilst I completely agree we need a manager to spend some time here building up the squad and so forth, that has to be with a competent and worthy appointment and a manager that can, given the same scenario, get us into the play offs at a minimum from the play off position he inherited. Any of the top 5 or 6 managers in that league would have won us promotion in those 25 games. Had Joey Barton been appointed I think we’d have won the league in a canter and like it or not he was spot on with his comments on Parkinson football at our club. We were awful under him. He failed spectacularly and yet there are still those that think he’ll win promotion this coming season. Let me tell you, I have ZERO confidence in him tbh and think top 8 will be a struggle for him. His style of football is rank and his tactical decisions both obsolete and ineffective. Playing an unfit, slow non-goalscoring striker who couldn’t hit a cows arse with a banjo, 30 yards up the pitch from his nearest team mate, with 7 or 8 defensive minded players behind him just lobbing aimless balls up front was his stock go to tactic last season and it just kept failing. His win ratio was worse than Ross who himself was out of his depth and we didn’t look any more tight at the back despite 7 or 8 defensive players employed there. He also thought it a cracking idea to piss off our best player and league ones best player, as he could apparently do without him. He couldn’t as it turned out and neither could we as a club.
We couldn’t score and still leaked goals and went from play offs to 8th. That takes a special kind of hapless. I wanted Kevin Phillips here before and after Ross but we just appointed the cheap (free) option nobody else wanted and it has backfired but many argued his (SKP) lack of existence (a bogus one imo) prevented his appointment so I propose another name. Paul Cook. A far, far better option than Parkinson and also a non cost option that surely nobody with half a brain could argue against. Apooint a decent manager and support his rebuild absolutely but just blindly supporting a failure because you want to stop sacking managers is plain daft. We keep sacking managers because we keep employing total knackers and we keep getting shot of the better ones who did deserve more time like ONeill and Poyet. Both of those had pedigree to improve us but Parkinson doesn’t.
Sticking with PP is the death knell for next season before a ball is kicked in my humble opinion. He’ll be sacked by Christmas for certain, due to terrible results and that bloody awful football and it will simply scupper any chances of someone else being appointed to rescue the season in time in January where the good managers will have been snapped up and mean we will appoint another cheap unsuitable knacker and continue the circle if failure all over again in 2021/22. Its a merry-go-round of failure we simply must get off at some point.
Simple answer. Sack Parkinson now and go get Paul Cook immediately. Its a no brainer and before the usual ‘he’s obviously a mag’ jibes and ‘he can’t have been going long’, I’m a 55 year old 45 year veteran and have over the years followed this club all over the place as many of you will know me. I was part of the formation team of the Chester le Street Branch at its inception and love this football club desperately. I’ve seen a lot of crap over the past 4 and a half decades and a little sunshine but we are the worst I’ve ever seen right now in all aspects of ownership, squad and management. We need the right manager for this coming season and Parkinson ain’t it. Paul Cook is but he won’t be out of work much longer.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Kevin, I take the point that Paul Cook would be an astute appointment for any side in a predicament like our own - he’s done a great job with a Wigan operating on limited resources and would likely be a good appointment at Sunderland, too. I also take your point that Phil Parkinson’s time at Sunderland thus far hasn’t set the world alight. Ultimately, though, the current ownership won’t sack Phil Parkinson for several reasons. Firstly, it would cost a good chunk of money to pay out the remainder of his contract. Secondly, organisations tend to be extremely cautious during times of uncertainty. Finally, it feels like Parkinson, rightly or wrongly, is this ownership team’s man; they trust him and are willing to give him ample opportunity to try and get things right. I hope you’re wrong about the season that lies ahead, but you never know with Sunderland. Hope you’re well, and thanks for writing in.