Such is the current plight of Sunderland Association Football Club; it has been a while since I have been genuinely excited about going to the game. A Boxing Day fixture against bottom of the table Bolton Wanderers did little to whet my appetite, however, before kick-off, there was a touching tribute to the late Billy Hughes shown on the scoreboards, and I had Goosebumps again. I never saw Billy Hughes play, I wasn’t born until two years after his last game for the lads, but I’d heard the tales from me fatha, and seen the ’73 video. I do remember Roker Park though and hearing the roar and seeing the limbs in the Fulwell End as Billy found the net got my football juices flowing again, and I was weirdly optimistic of a decent performance and a few goals. Ha’way Lads, let’s get this season turned around.
But the excitement and optimism was short lived. Parkinson was playing for a point from the kick-off against the team propping up the Third Division. Setting up with five at the back with two holding midfielders, just as he had done in the previous game when we created nothing. Ten minutes into another woefully dreary game, the travelling Bolton fans directed a song towards their former gaffer. “Phil Parkinson, your football is sh*t.” Christ, it really is, isn’t it?
It’s not just us that sees it. How can Mr Donald not see it as well? Only he knows the reasons why he employed him in the first place, but he must realise now that the man is clueless and hopelessly out of his depth. He has absolutely zero tactical nouse or managerial quality. This never more evident than with 20 minutes left, he was presented with a gift, an opportunity to change the formation and go and win the game, when Flannagan was forced off through injury. Everyone in the ground expected to see the introduction of another forward, McNulty or Grigg who were warming the bench, but instead we saw De Bock enter the fray. This clearly demonstrated that Parkinson was playing for a draw.
Parkinson “would have taken a point all day” against Gillingham. He has set teams up to get a point at home to a toothless Blackpool side, and again at home against the side rooted to the bottom of the table. We are Sunderland. I don’t think it’s arrogant or disrespectful to say we should be smashing these opposition to bits, or at least setting out to win.
Instead, Parkinson’s complete negative football style and complete lack of ambition has resulted in us, Sunderland Association Football Club, closer to the relegation zone in the Third Division than to the promotion places. The owners must realise that if they don’t act immediately and get this clown out of our football club, then the prospect of any future success, or us ever seeing legends the likes of Billy Hughes in a red and white shirt ever again is so far off that it is non-existent.