Wise Men Say: Accepting mediocrity at Sunderland is not stability
If the sacking of Simon Grayson didn't take people by surprise, the swiftness of it certainly did.
I hadn’t even had time to board the bus home from just outside the Wheatsheaf when the news broke. Equally as quick was the reaction to his dismissal.
A whole host of ex-footballers and journalists were tripping over themselves to label Sunderland as a joke and adopt the holier than thou attitude of time and stability.
There have already been many column inches devoted to the club ‘sacking yet another manager’ and put forward the idea that Grayson would have turned things around in the end.
Of course, I’m not denying that we are a crisis club, that is a fair comment, but I’m becoming increasingly tired of the media narrative which suggests we are unmanageable.
Firstly, the assertion that we always sack managers is false, Sam Allardyce left for England and Dick Advocaat and David Moyes resigned.
Secondly, people outside the north east who claim that succeeding on Wearside is an impossibility appear hypocritical in the extreme.
The same journalists typically dismiss Allardyce as a long ball merchant and generally down play his achievements.
Yet he managed to do a good job as well as galvanising the fanbase and providing hope for a bright future under his management, if we are such a managerial graveyard then Big Sam must be a football visionary.
I’m being flippant here, but it’s frustrating to see such opinions flying around with little context to support their argument.
The concept of stability is desirable but shouldn’t be perused for the sake of it.
Last season, it was evident that David Moyes was ill suited to the job, he spent the entire season absolving himself of any blame and acted as if the job was beneath him.
Despite this we stuck by him, only for him to walk away at the end of the season. Does that show stability? Would it have been stable to persist with Simon Grayson and end up in League one? Not at all.
Given the squad he inherited, and the lack of funds given I did not have high expectations, a mid-table finish, playing attacking football with plenty of endeavour would have sufficed. But this has not materialised.
We haven’t won a game since August and have held the lead at home for about five minutes.
We haven’t had anything resembling a coherent style of football and the majority of our goals have come from a rare moment of individual brilliance from McGeady or Lewis Grabban.
You must set the off field struggles aside as a separate issue. A lack of a budget does not excuse the amount of goals we have leaked, it does not excuse him not knowing his best team at this stage of the season and it does not excuse his lack of decisiveness of the goalkeeper situation. This is down to poor man management and coaching.
Some people felt he deserved more time, but I’m not sure how time could have healed anything, I would have subscribed to that viewpoint had he tried to impose a coherent style of play but there simply wasn’t one.
I wish Simon Grayson every success, but he was simply not destined to be Sunderland manager.
Once again, we find ourselves in a mess on and off the field, but the acceptance of failure does not equal stability and we now must nail the next appointment to avoid a repeat of this situation further down the line.