A month in and Simon Grayson already has his hands full as Sunderland manager

If Simon Grayson didn't know the size of the job he has taken on, he certainly does now.

by Matt_Crighton Wednesday, 02 August 2017 07:18 PM Comments
If Simon Grayson didn't know the size of the job he has taken on, he certainly does now.
When Simon Grayson walked through the doors of the Academy of Light on his first day as manager, he must of walked in absolutely proud as punch at landing a job the size of Sunderland. Undoubtedly, his biggest challenge to date. Unfazed by being second choice to Derek McInnes, he was soon saying all the right things. He was excited to be here. More importantly, he WANTED to be here. He brought an air of optimism and positivity that has been alien to Sunderland fans during the David Moyes farce. Farce is putting it extremely politely. 

He spoke of only bringing in players that wanted to play for the club, players who would play for the shirt and that wouldn't be coming here for the money. It was music to our ears. This was the fighting talk we wanted to hear. He had the plan all sussed in his head. It was just a matter of putting it in to place. Wasn't it?

He brought in two young defenders from Everton with plenty to prove in Ty Browning and Brendan Galloway. Galloway spent time on loan last year with West Bromwich Albion after turning down Newcastle United. All seemed good.  

James Vaughan came from Bury for a few pence in football terms after scoring 24 goals in a season for a side that struggled in League One. 

Aiden McGeady come in for peanuts from Everton after sparkling on loan at Grayson’s previous club Preston North End last season, scoring 8 goals in 34 appearances and winning the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month in February. 

Lewis Grabban arrived from Bournemouth with Championship pedigree after spending recent time on loan at Norwich City and more recently, Vito Mannone's new home, Reading. 

Jason Steele arrived from Blackburn Rovers for a small fee. A position that was crying out to be filled after the departures of Jordan Pickford and Mannone, leaving only Max Stryjek and some bloke called Mika. Whoever that is. 

Preseason has been a mixed bag. Victories against Bury, Livingston, Hartlepool United and Bradford City coupled with a couple of draws against Hibernian and Scunthorpe United and a defeat to St Johnstone. Then there was the Celtic game. Where everything we had feared with SAFC came back to haunt us. 

Another home defeat. Not just a defeat, but a hammering. The frailties which had tormented us for so long had returned. The terrible performances, the obvious lack of interest from Lamine Kone, the defensive howlers, the debut keeper conceding five and our new striker still not breaking his duck despite stepping up to two penalties during preseason. I could go on but I really don’t think I need, or want, to.

Like many of you, I have seen bad preseasons before and we have gone on to have decent seasons. Similarly, we've had preseasons where we've held Borussia Dortmund to a draw and beat Atletico Madrid but the following season we've done nothing apart from struggle or get relegated. 

And just to top it off, I log on to Twitter on Sunday morning to see videos of Darron Gibson off his face and talking ill of the club and criticising team mates. Six days before the start of the season. Fantastic.

Simon Grayson, you were looking forward to the challenge. You've got one on your hands now!

But here I am, waiting for the new season despite being already devoid of hope. Seeing just more and more things falling apart with the club I hold dear. After starting to feel enthusiasm again for football, I feel deflated and left in a heap like a bouncy castle at a party after all the kids have gone home.