Sunderland fans have been through the ringer these past 12 months. Now our Michael Graham is calling for Simon Grayson to be sacked before relegation to League 1 becomes a reality….
There is a weird sort of idea within football that managers at Sunderland are somehow the victims of the club.
Just read that again, please. Sunderland managers are victims of the club. Not the fans… the managers.
Sunderland haven’t won a home match – any home match whether it’s Premier League, Championship, cup, or even a friendly (they lost that one 5-0 by the way) – for nearly 11 months.
That’s essentially a full season worth of games without a single home win. It’s a whole season worth of season card payments too, for the most loyal at least, without a single win. But it’s always the managers who are the victims.
Sunderland’s complete home record 2017 pic.twitter.com/ZMtGRFYjrg
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) October 28, 2017
“It’s going to take time, so we’re just going to have to be patient,” implored former Sunderland defender turned-tv pundit Michael Gray. “I think Simon is the right man. He’s obviously got his hands tied a little bit.”
“Give him time and support, he is a wonderful fella,” said QPR boss Ian Holloway after their 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light, before actually deflecting the blame ONTO Sunderland fans.
“We needed the second goal in the game, if we had done the atmosphere would have helped us, not them. My shout to everybody would be this is a brilliant club, you still have the support and those lads out there still need some help.”
Patience? Sunderland fans have been patient enough. The club have been asking for patience for literally years – and they’ve received it in far greater abundance than they have deserved in that time.
Continuing to ask for more now, and actually expecting more, which you get the idea the club actually do, is an absolute abuse of the fans’ passion for their club.
Although, I say ‘their’ club out of habit, not belief that it is actually still the case.
I’m a Sunderland fan myself and I feel more disconnected from the club than ever before, and it’s not about results. Say what you like about Sunderland fans, but we know how to take footballing misery on the chin. We have been given no choice but to become well-practised in it.
It’s all the other nonsense that’s been going on: having our club’s name allowed to be dragged through the mud by Adam Johnson; the club happily sending millionaire footballers on a mid-(relegation)-season holiday to New York while announcing redundancies at home; David Moyes essentially slagging off the club on a weekly basis, and the occasional female journalist; bending over and allowing John Terry – a player banned after being found guilty of racially abusing a former Sunderland player – a dream ceremonial Chelsea send-off.
And that’s to make just a few of the bigger ones. The club even tweet like they have no idea who their supporters actually are, wishing Newcastle United stalwarts a happy birthday and nostalgically celebrating the free-transfer desperation signing of James McFadden, as well as somehow managing to mix up QPR and Arsenal in their own pre-match preview tweets – TWICE.
To be perfectly honest, Ian Holloway is right about one thing: Simon Grayson seems a hell of a nice guy. Problem is, his record so far is absolutely horrific, and if that wasn’t bad enough he compounds it by talking so much nonsense that it’s genuinely insulting to supporters’ intelligence.
More to the point, thought, Sunderland are currently sitting second bottom of the Championship with one win in 14 games and the worst defensive record in the division.
And that’s with a squad boasting the likes of Lamine Kone, Lee Cattermole, Aiden McGeady, John O’Shea, Bryan Oviedo, Jonny Williams, Didier Ndong, Duncan Watmore, Callum McManaman, and no shortage of other players who should be at least very comfortable at this level.
So why can’t Grayson get even the very basics out of them? It’s not the best squad you could hope for by any means, but it’s not like he has nothing with which to work. There are talented players there.
Getting that squad to mid-table obscurity would probably be under-achieving. They call it a crisis, but make no mistake about it: second bottom of the championship and staring League One football in the face is nothing short of a total calamity.
And what is the club’s preached solution? Patience and persistence. They want to patiently persist with calamity.
What’s more, they want fans to be complicit with this madness – and they genuinely seem oblivious to just how insulting that is. Remember… we simply must have sympathy for the managers.
Well, tell me I’m unreasonable if you like, but sitting in a half-empty stadium at the end of October, praying for a late equaliser against Bristol City to desperately spare ourselves the humiliation of being rock bottom of the Championship is the moment when my sympathy for the idiot managers who got us here runs out.
So yeah, thanks for trying Simon, and I know the club has problems, but right now you’re the biggest one by far.
Last week, club CEO Martin Bain delivered enough spin to make a tornado dizzy before boasting: “I hope that fans respect the fact that I am communicating with them and telling them the way it is.”
Well, we know the way it really is. You take our money and make us watch the way it really is, so we don’t need the lecture. What we need – what we deserve – is solutions. That’s what we’ll respect, and Simon Grayson has done nothing to suggest he can be any part of one without leaving the club as quickly as possible.