Sitcom Sunderland; Steele faith will end Grayson & three more awful reasons to LOL or you'd cry

As the old saying goes, 'if you don't laugh you'll sit with your arms folded staring into the abyss', right? That's what 25,000 of us did yesterday at the latest LOL at the SOL. 

We shouldn't laugh, but the extra hour in bed this morning means anger has been replaced by a curious gallows humour when reflecting on another hapless outing from Simon Grayson's Sunderland. 

Boasting pre-game that he would finally be able to select from his 'strongest' squad, the Black Cats boss proceeded to watch on as Bristol City waltzed away from the Stadium of Light with three points. If it wasn't so utterly tragic, you'd be forgiven for raising a wry smile at the state of this. 

Grayson: the sitcom 

Sunderland hadn't played Bristol City since the late 1990s, a period in which that bloke off Red Dwarf played Gordan Brittas as a well-meaning but incompetent leisure centre manager. 

Supposedly those nice Fulwell73 chaps who decided not to buy Sunderland in the summer are currently filming a behind-the-scenes documentary on the farce playing out at the Stadium of Light. 

Grayson cast in a Brittas Empire reboot seems apt. The hapless Sunderland boss stood virtually motionless in his technical area as his side threw away a game they really could have gone on to win with some bold tactical tweaks and cunning substitutions. 

But it was his hilarious punchline that only the day before he had shown his players a presentation on how to defend against the Robins that really brought the house down. No other side in the Championship have conceded more goals than Sunderland. Perhaps PowerPoint isn't the answer Simon. It's not funny, it really isn't. 

Jason Steele, kamikaze stunt man

He may have made a few saves yesterday, but Sunderland goalkeeper Jason Steele is simply an unappealing mess of poor positioning and hand-waving ball-watcher. 

Some observers objected to the ironic jeers which emanated from sections of the Stadium of Light as the Teesside-born stopper managed a few successful catches and goal kicks, but when we look back on Simon Grayson's tenure - which is surely drawing to a close - keeping faith with Steele will be recalled as one of the top reasons for the manager's failure. 

Costing at least a goal a game, Bristol City knew all they had to do to score was to plant the ball on top of the Sunderland 'keeper from a corner kick and the opening goal would be their's. And so it proved. 

Whilst not really at fault for the Robins' second, if you keep an eye on him when you watch it back, Steele's positioning is still suspect. A change is needed in goal for Tuesday if Grayson is going to keep his job. Someone recall Max Stryjek from Accrington. 

Lamine Kone, leading man

As managerial tenures enter their death-throes, as Grayson's clearly is, so the spectacles on the pitch tend to veer from the sublime to the ridiculous. 

It was captain John O'Shea who ordered Lamine Kone to go up front for the final five minutes or so on Saturday. Clearly unconvinced that James Vaughan was going to offer Sunderland any threat when he came on with a little over ten to go, the Black Cats skipper must have overruled Grayson and assumed his Ivorian colleague at centre-half would be a better option than the Bury flop leading the line. 

And so Sunderland finished the game with Vaughan and Kone up front. A joy for lovers of black comedy perhaps, but as Simon Grayson looked on hopelessly without a clue what to do, Kone was clearly increasingly perplexed by what the hell he was doing up there. 


Martin Bain's sideshow

Whilst what's happening to Grayson and his merry men is tragic, we really must remember the true villains of the piece. 

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain used what was supposed to be a half-term day out for the kids at last week's Stadium of Light FanFest to assail himself upon the public in a toe-curling defence of his tenure on Wearside. 

Adamant he was getting it right, the destruction of Sunderland AFC continues at a pace evidenced by a desperately depressing situation each week within what was once a great stadium. Handed almost total control of the football club by absent owner Ellis Short, Martin Bain looks set to destroy it completely. We haven't bottomed out yet and it really is no laughing matter. 

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