“Will anybody rid me of this troublesome priest?” Thus spoke Henry II after he had grown exasperated by his Archbishop of Canterbury’s unwillingness to do his bidding. Thankfully we live in a more civilised age and we recoil at the fate of St Thomas a Beckett.

However, if I can paraphrase Henry II by saying, “Will anyone free us of this utterly inept manager” I would be more than happy if someone would give Phil Parkinson his P45. Had the Covid epidemic not stopped the legions of loyal fans turning up at the Stadium of Light I am in no doubt there would be a loud chant of “Parkinson Out” or something much less polite at the MK Dons match.

Indeed, that chant would have been heard after yet another ignominious early cup exist against Mansfield last week and possibly at the Portsmouth game. And if anyone were to address such a crowd and ask them if anyone seriously believes Parkinson can lead us out of League One there would either be a howling chorus of derision or absolute silence.

If the projected new owners do take over I hope they will take one massive step for the supporters by letting Parkinson go as quickly as possible whilst there is still time this season to bring in a new manager who can give us real hope of promotion. One who can galvanise a team to actually score goals and score them freely against teams in this league with a tiny fraction of Sunderland’s resources, to entertain, to give us some decent cup runs, to beat the top teams in this lowly division, to restore a sense of joy to supporting the Lads – all the things Parkinson fails to do.

For sure, in these failures he is most consistent. There simply isn’t time to allow Parkinson to fail again at the end of the season. The fans deserve so much better and we can only hope that should new owners emerge, in the short-term they will demonstrate clearly that they are earnest in their ambitions for the club by taking this step.