To no great surprise, Simon Grayson has been sacked after yet another wretched result, 3-3 at home to the Championship’s bottom club, Bolton Wanderers.
Nice guy out of his depth or decent manager with all the odds stacked against him by a basket case of a football club. Either way, Grayson is no longer Sunderland’s manager.
Having scraped two draws from two home games he said himself were important to win after the horrendous start to the season, Grayson found on Tuesday night that the patience of our absent owner and present but struggling chief executive had run out.
Another hopeless outing, SAFC unable to beat the bottom club and doing their level best to lose and take over at the foot of the table, left us within two games of managing a full year without a win at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland AFC has this evening parted company with manager Simon Grayson.
The club would like to place on record its thanks to Simon and his staff for their efforts during their time at the football club.
Chief executive Martin Bain said: “Simon and his team have worked tirelessly to achieve the best for the football club during their time here.
“While we hoped that Simon’s experience in the Football League would help us to a successful season, results have not been good enough for a club of this stature.
“In order for us to improve upon our current position we believe a fundamental change is necessary.”
Assistant manager Glynn Snodin also departs.
It is clear the club had no serious choice, even if it is actually the principal cause of the malaise that Grayson was incapable of overcoming. One win in 15 games, so long ago we could be forgiven for having forgotten entirely, suggests a manager who has been on borrowed time for quite a while.
I liked Grayson’s honesty. I greatly sympathised with him as the second choice at best of our scintillating owner/CEO partnership, handed a few crumbs with which to do transfer business and then carrying the can for predictable failure.
But while feeling a good deal angrier about Ellis Short and Martin Bain, much as the latter’s hand is restrained by the want-away owner, I cannot fault the decision now taken. Grayson’s inability to instil the least discipline and organisation into his porous defence, his unimaginative style and his poor selections and substitutions really did begin to look like a cast-iron case for dismissal.
What on earth happens next is anyone’s guess. Which even half-decent manager would be daft enough to come to SAFC unless guaranteed resources that were denied to Grayson.
Our very modest cause for relief is that the change may come early enough in the season to give the new man a sporting chance of averting what currently looks inevitable.
And let us not forget the culpability of the players in the mess we are now witnessing. Not everyone is a bargain-basement no-hoper whose true level is a division or two lower. Grayson’s recruitment was poor, with only Lewis Grabban and intermittently Aiden McGeady and Callum McManaman making an impression. But Kone, Jones, Oviedo, O’Shea and Cattermole were playing in the Premier League only a few months ago. Even some of the others have been performing well below their best.
Simple instructions – don’t just hoof the ball high to a lone striker who cannot jump – seem to have been ignored. Two keepers have utterly failed to stamp the least authority on their goalmouths. As well as not being to win, the team cannot keep a clean sheet. Going behind at home has become routine; going ahead away serves merely as a cushion for when the home team retaliates.
These are sad, bad times to be a Sunderland supporter. We can but hope Short and Bain can somehow rise above their own shortcomings and the dire financial plight of the club and act wisely when making the decisions that could affect the long-term security of Sunderland AFC.
Ha’way the Lads. One piece of brighter news: we’ve actually climbed a place, to the nose bleed altitude of third bottom.