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Opinion: Dear Sunderland AFC - when will we learn from our mistakes?

Despite the positivity generated in the wake of Simon Grayson’s appointment as manager of Sunderland AFC, Molly Burke looks past the fanfare and asks what’s really changed?

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Sunderland AFC,

We appear to have found ourselves back in a position that reeks of hopelessness and desperation. You have recently released a statement telling us the takeover we have been dreaming of for so long is not happening, and that Simon Grayson is to lead the club going forward as manager.

As unbelievable as it sounds, I hoped that perhaps this potential takeover could do us some good and maybe we would finally have something to smile about – but as ever we find ourselves back to square one, pondering what could have been.

Don’t misunderstand - this isn’t intended as a slight on Grayson or his past endeavors. However, looking past the fanfare and hope heralded by Grayson’s arrival, it seems like little has changed at the club. And that worries me.


Ellis Short, I wish I could believe you when you say you want the best for this club, but the continuous downward spiral, the and never-ending disasters experienced under your reign suggests something far different.

You say you care, but now that you are stuck with us for even longer, is it just going to feel like we are a weight on your shoulders that you just can’t seem to shift? Will you look the other way when we are so desperately pleading for your support?

I see no hope financially, and it will come as no surprise when you refuse to spend big on a squad that is in need of an incredible overhaul. Will we see the Jordan Pickford money reinvested back into the team? I somehow doubt it.

I pray that perhaps things can be different and you will promise Grayson a relatively sizeable transfer kitty - similar to the ones you promised to a plethora of managers before him - otherwise things are never going to get better.


Simon Grayson, I applaud you for your willingness to take over at a club in such a terrible state, but at least you don’t have particularly big boots to fill.

You haven’t received a great reception upon your arrival, but in all honestly I’m not sure what else everyone expected. We aren’t the wealthy, attractive club we once were, and when the likes of Derek McInnes and Jurgen Klinsmann turn us down, you are definitely the best we are going to get - and I don’t believe that is necessarily a bad thing.

Your experience in the Championship is definitely what we will need next season, and while I don’t think you will be able to get us promoted, you will do a good job of rebuilding our team into one that can soon return to where they belong.

You are going to need to handle the small transfer funds that Short will hand you well. You have already said you are willing to use the U23s where needed – something that Moyes always refused to do - so hopefully you will help the likes of Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman flourish and develop throughout your time here.

You said that players will want to join Sunderland and won’t come for the money but will play for the shirt. I like this. For so many years we have had to deal with players who lose interest so soon after joining, their minds elsewhere as they day dream about their next wage packet. But of course it’s easier said than done and I really hope you can stay true to your word.


The players, come the end of the transfer window hopefully we will have sold the dead wood and those that lack the passion and determination we need. The ones that remain – plus the new arrivals – should be those willing to put everything they have into helping the club return to the Premier League. We don’t belong in the second tier and to help us gain promotion you need to not only be a player, but become a fan just like us. You need to care.

We need leaders. O’Shea and Catts may not be the best footballers in the world, but they show grit and positivity. We need players in both getting forward and tracking back. We need players that love playing for the club and we need to be able to see that in your football.


The fans, we need to be patient. Being a Sunderland supporter is an incredibly stressful thing and it never really seems like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I don’t think we can replicate Newcastle’s season - we don’t have the quality of players or the finances that they had. We will need to rebuild and strengthen before battling our way back up to the top, and this could take some time.

It will be difficult but we have to get behind Grayson and the team come August because we are one of the best sets of fans in England and supporting our team is what we do best.