Darron Gibson avoids the sack but reputation is 'in tatters'
Shamed Ireland international Darron Gibson has been given a reprieve by Sunderland manager Simon Grayson following his drunken rant in which he criticised the commitment of several team-mates.
While admitting that Gibson's drink-fuelled problems had left the former Manchester United star's reputation "in tatters", Grayson said he had not been sacked by the troubled Championship club, mainly because they do not have enough players in the squad. Just hours after his side had been thrashed 5-0 by Celtic on Saturday, Gibson was filmed criticising Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri and Jeremain Lens.
Repeating one fan's assessment, he said "we're f***ing s***" and even suggested "there are too many people at the club who don't give a f***".
Few among the Sunderland faithful would question Gibson's assessment of three players who look certain to leave the club in the next month.
But he has hardly set the North East alight himself since his January move from Everton and was on the bench again at the weekend.
He has been hit with a heavy fine and Grayson revealed he had asked Gibson if he had a drink problem. Gibson, who has apologised directly to the three players mentioned, as well as the rest of the Sunderland squad, was convicted of drink-driving two years ago after hitting a cyclist.
Since the latest incident, which attracted unwanted publicity for Sunderland in the week of the Championship kick-off, Gibson has trained with the first team squad and he will be included in the squad to face Derby tomorrow night.
"We've had an internal inquiry, Darron apologised first thing Monday morning, sent a lot of other apologies around to the relevant people and apologised to others," Grayson said.
"It is not a situation you encourage for any player to be drinking before a game but that is down to their responsibility. I can't be with them 24/7 and ultimately, it's going to cost him a lot of money and his reputation is in tatters to a certain degree.
"He will still be considered. We're probably not in a position where we can move people out of the squad, because we don't have the strength in depth, but he's apologised and sometimes you have to put a seal on things and move on. We've done that."