Wise Men Say: Sunderland are in crisis mode again and must admit they made mistake over Phil Parkinson
Setting up with a five-man defence with the target of settling for a point at League One behemoths Gillingham? Settling for a point. At Gillingham.
When the Sunderland club Twitter account published the starting XI, I thought it was a prank. Phil Parkinson had selected a bold 5-3-2 formation - not a 3-5-2 - and left his creative players on the bench.
The reaction on social media was damning. “Worst line-up of all time” was one of the comments. In the Wise Men Say group chat there was a mixture of anger and plain gallows humour. When things are this bad, you just have to laugh.
Bear in mind this was before a ball was even kicked. Give them a chance they say. Sadly, this lot - the players and the coaches - have had their chances, and we fully expected what followed.
A lacklustre, shell of a performance lacking in any style or substance.
With previous managers you can sometimes appreciate what they’re trying to do even if the results don’t go their way. But with Parkinson at Priestfields Stadium, there was no identity, no intention.
It was just a beige piece of cardboard. It was the starter on the menu that nobody orders. It was a Coldplay B-side.
The fact that Sunderland AFC - six-time League champions, two-time FA Cup winners, one-time Checkatrade Trophy runners-up - have sunk to the level of playing for a point at Gillingham, is an absolute disgrace.
What’s worse is that this famous club’s loyal fanbase is living this experience week after week, time after time. Every new low is outdone by a newer, more spectacular low.
The club needs to recognise that they have made a grave mistake with Parkinson’s appointment.
There is £9million of investment for improving the club’s infrastructure from our new American investors which should be spent on player recruitment in January, but also financing Parkinson’s pay-off. Admit it was a mistake and correct it.
This club is in crisis mode once again. We’re used to it, of course. But don’t think for a second that we are going to stand for it again.