Hello everyone. I'm sure you're well aware by now that this fine blog is to be featured on a weekly basis now in The Durham Times. Richard Mason did have the column, but has stepped aside and allowed us to take over, for which we are very thankful.
We're over the moon with this, as the Durham Times has an extensive readership, from Coxhoe out to Lanchester up to Ousten and everywhere in between.
You can get it from all good newsagents, WH Smiths, Sainsbury's Tesco and I'm sure a host of other places too. It's only 30p, and available every Friday.
Here at Roker Report we'll be taking turns among the five of us to write The Roker Report column for the paper, and to kick thing's off, it's me, Simon Walsh. Enjoy...
Well, we didn’t half pick the right week to take over this column from Richard Mason didn’t we? To start things off before we get to the main of things - hello, we’re The Roker Report, a site run by Sunderland fans, for Sunderland fans. We’ve even got a weekly SAFC podcast too, which Mr Mason is set to appear on.
Ok, enough of that now on to business, and what a week it has been. In what seems like an eternity ago, cast your minds back to August 12th – a mere two weeks ago when everyone was full of hope, optimism and a degree of expectancy.
Now, if you believe some fans the season is a write off after two league games and a poor showing in the Carling Cup. I think this is where the expectancy comes into things.
The defeat against Newcastle United hurt. Not just because of the opposition, but the poor performance from easily nine of the eleven who started proceedings.
With that in mind, we trudged down to Brighton & Hove Albion’s shiny new AMEX Stadium thinking "maybe we’ll turn things around here" however this was not to be. Credit to Bruce for starting several of the same team who drew so well at Anfield, but it was the omissions which stole the headlines, with the manager choosing to inexplicably start with no recognised striker, but leave three on the bench.
The decision becomes even more baffling when you consider Bruce was quoted in the week as saying Asamoah Gyan isn’t match fit. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but surely playing games would aid his match fitness?
So where are we going with this meandering ramble? Well, in light of two bad results it is customary for Sunderland fans to immediately call for the manager’s head, and bring up plenty of useless guff about how we’ve only won X amount of games in X amount of time, Steve Bruce is a Newcastle fan and so forth.
However, I’d like to call on some fans to sit down and take a deep breath, whilst looking at the bigger picture. A changing of the guard this early in the season will get us nowhere fast.
As said, I’ve read a lot of things this week, but not one of them for me came close to topping the fact that under Bruce we’ve gone from 16th to 13th, and 13th to 10th – these little improvements in the league are what we should be expecting. Keep in mind too that these continually improving seasons came with two incredibly bad runs included.
This summer Steve Bruce went out and did what everyone wanted, which was to buy plenty of players and improve the squad overall. Whilst there are still gaps in attack and on the left, there’s no doubting we have a better group of players on our hands this time around. New signings always need time to bed into the team, and when there are ten of them, don’t expect instant results.
With this in mind, and Bruce’s ability to improve things with poorer players, it’s ridiculous to be calling for his head so early.
I wouldn’t even begin to question Bruce until Christmas personally. If we’re looking destined to not improve, a change could be considered, but until then you have to back the man who has, like it or not brought continual improvement.
Whilst this week has been a hellish one, but to take things back to the beginning of this article, have some hope, some optimism, and perhaps we will see Sunderland AFC creep up the table, as expected.
Of course you could have been reading this on Friday if you'd bought a copy. Make sure you do next week, or visit http://www.durhamtimes.co.uk/