Phil Parkinson reacts to the #DonaldOut fan campaign and hails 'terrific' Sunderland fans for backing in Doncaster Rovers win
Phil Parkinson hopes to keep the focus on the football and winning matches after an explosive statement from four fan groups calling on Stewart Donald to sell the club.
A joint statement from Roker Report, A Love Supreme, Wise Men Say and the Red and White Army was released on Friday evening – shortly after a co-ordinated message on social media.
The tweet, accompanied by the hashtag #DonaldOut, was shared by hundreds of Sunderland supporters along with a message that read: “You said you’d sell Sunderland AFC when you’d outstayed your welcome. That time is now. #DonaldOut.”
And that social media campaign, which was trending in the UK, was followed by a more detailed statement, outlining why the fanzines and fan groups feel that Donald should move aside.
There were no chants against Donald at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday as Sunderland ended their nine-game winless streak with an impressive 2-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers.
There were no chants against Parkinson either, who has been under intense fire after a dismal run, though there were again a couple of chants for ‘Super Kevin Phillips’ prior to Sunderland taking the lead.
The Black Cats were backed by 4,070 supporters at Doncaster and the support for the team was superb throughout, with the players and Parkinson going to applaud them at the end.
When asked by the Echo for a response to the statement from the various fan groups calling for Donald to go, Parkinson said: “There is so much passion in the city of Sunderland for the team and when you’re not winning everybody looks to criticise and point the finger.
“I haven’t really read anything about it, obviously someone told me before the game.
“All I want to do is get the lads to play with the spirit with what we have showed today.
“If we can keep winning games and take it into the next couple of games and people can start talking about football.”
On the fans at Doncaster, Parkinson added: “It was a great moment when you win away from home, there was a terrific atmosphere, it just felt like our supporters made a difference.
“I am so desperate to get it going here, I am doing everything I can here, working tirelessly with my staff to get it going …. I am desperate to get this club going.
“You have to be thick skinned at times, take the flak. I have got thick skin and I am confident I know what to do to get this team winning again.
“It’s the best we have played since I have been here and I am so pleased they got the rewards, the supporters were like a 12th man.
“When the games come thick and fast over this period, there are tired legs, but when you have 4,000 fans like that it felt like a home game and it helps.”
The fan group statement released on Friday read: “These are the fans who set attendance records for the division. The fans who have endured years of ineffective leadership within the club. Yet here we are. The ones hurting the most as a result of our current situation.
“Stewart Donald must act now. “Things can only get better” has been a defiant chant in recent times but the sentiment is a flawed one. Things can get worse…and it continues to get worse.
“If there is a realistic offer on the table he must admit that the enormity of the task at hand and cut his losses. For our club to move forward now change needs to happen on the pitch, in the dugout and in the boardroom.”