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Fan Letters: “Sunderland don't have to look far for inspiration - South Shields FC no less”

Should Sunderland take inspiration from the way things are ran at our non-league neighbours South Shields FC? Roker Report reader Peter Chase seems to think so.

South Shields forward Carl Finnigan celebrates scoring against Sunderland in pre-season | Peter Talbot

Dear Roker Report,

Sunderland AFC don't have to look far for inspiration - South Shields FC no less.

Compare the management and compare the spine in the teams.

The Mariners have a goalkeeper nearing cult status in Liam Connell not seen since the days of Bert Garrow. They have a central defender in the experienced Jon Shaw, with a young and capable Dillon Morse alongside. They have the inspirational Julio Arca in midfield, and shaved head poacher Gavin Cogdon up front.

The Mariners have a savvy Geoff Thompson as Chairman and the astute Lee Picton and Graham Fenton as managers. Picton and Fenton are the box and dice. They rotate their players with nouse, around a strong spine. Look at how they utilise their players as a squad.

Compare this to the Mackems. In goal a floundering Steele so unsure of himself he palms away shots going a metre wide. O’Shea holds his own, but who is alongside him? Picton and Fenton would have Beadling there learning from O’Shea. We have Cattermole in midfield playing like a soldier who has no faith in his commander, and up front like a shag on a rock, we have James Vaughan.

They have a manager in Grayson who gets up his players for not chasing after his pet goalkeeper’s distributions going into touch. In fact, one did in Williams - and he injured himself.

The Mariners won four trophies last season and play in front of capacity crowds. The Mackems are one win in 13.

The Mariners have a chairman who likes to mix with the players and two managers who watch, listen, strategise, plan and act. The Mackems have an absent chairman and a manager who appears to lack acumen.

Maybe in 5 years the Mariners and the Mackems will meet in League 2.

Many a true word is said in jest.

Peter Chase

South Shields v Cleethorpes Town - The Buildbase FA Vase Final Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Hello. Today’s reports from Everton about their ex-manager Ronald Koeman feels as though they are 100% describing Simon Grayson to a tee.

No ideas, cannot change a thing and cannot instill any confidence, ideas or inspiration.

I believe it will never happen, but if we do not win the next 2 games we have to do something drastic to get rid of him.

I cannot think what, because the owner is just not interested in the club or the supporters.


Sunderland v Everton - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have followed Sunderland all my life and to see my home town club going the way it is breaks my heart. I remember on my way into work driving past the blue bell pub and the windmill on a weekend or a week day, all the fans outside singing away as they made the way down to Roker Park.

Yes, I know we have moved grounds but we had players that really knew what it was like to play for this club. We had a manager that knew what he was doing and had backroom staff around him that also knew what the manger wanted from the players - and how to get the best out them.

We had an owner that really cared for this club - what have we now is an owner that does not even want to be at the club, a manager that has not got a backbone and is totally clueless on how to manage the club, backroom staff that are just like the manager, and none them have control on the dressing room.

It looks like we have not even got a leader on the pitch that will scream orders to the players. We have had players come in on loan that could not even get into the first team at the club they came from, but take silly money home week in, week out. They cannot even turn up and give 110% for the club or even the fans that work hard every week to pay a silly price to watch they team play.

While I’m on, I wonder - has Simon Grayson or Martin Bain or even Ellis Short read up on the history of our club. Do they even know how it started, who started it or even what the colour was of our first strip before we went over to the Red and White?

Here is something I think they all need to read - not just the gaffers, but the backroom staff and even the players.

Neil Reekie

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