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Changes on the horizon? Roker Report meets Sunderland AFC

It’s time for change on Wearside, and fans will be pleased to hear that the club wants them to be a major part of all future decisions.

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

Recently we at Roker Report invited you to complete a survey giving your opinions on the current condition of Sunderland AFC. Many of you responded and gave us a fascinating insight into your thoughts regarding our beloved club’s current situation.

We asked you six questions in the survey, and your responses raised some interesting issues. For example, over 90% of you stated that you aren’t happy with the way in which the club has been managed by those in charge of day to day activities in recent years; almost 70% of you noted that you are dissatisfied with the club’s current financial position, and 73% of you feel dissatisfied with the club’s appreciation of its fans.

On the other hand almost half of you stated that you think this summer’s transfer business has been promising, and with regard to the club’s digital media efforts over half of you said you found it positive.

People aren’t too happy with the way in which the club has been managed in recent years.
Roker Report 2017 Survey.

However, we didn’t just survey readers in order to merely create an article providing evidence to questions we all know the answer to deep down - we surveyed our readers in order to collect raw data in anticipation of a meeting with Sunderland AFC, which took place on Friday the 21st of July.

The editors of Roker Report met with club officials at the Stadium of Light where we sat down to discuss several issues facing the club at present and how they could be remedied going forwards.

The talks were productive, and as a fanzine dedicated to always putting the best interests of the fans at the forefront of everything we do, we came away from the meeting reassured that the club wants to work together with the fans moving forwards - something we’ve all wanted for a long time.

The club’s digital content is definitely a positive and can be further improved moving forwards.
Roker Report 2017 Survey

By the time the discussions had ended, the club noted that they wanted to move away from being seen as a ‘faceless entity’ and instead wanted to become more accessible to the most important people associated with this club - us, the fans.

Your responses to our survey proved vital when examining issues that the club currently face and acted as a base from which we were able to understand what needs to be addressed going forward. In short: the club heard your opinions and agree that things have to change.

This should certainly be viewed with a cautious sense of optimism. There is definitely much to be done, and it won’t be rectified overnight; however, the fact that the club were so open to talks and were keen to find ways to change for the better is definitely something to be pleased about.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League
The club agrees that the fans need to be more involved.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In particular the club were aware that more must be done in order to give all fans associated with the club an opportunity to express their opinions in a forum where they will be heard. A major part of last season’s frustrations was the fact that fans found it difficult to know where to vent their anger, and in turn this helped propagate last season’s toxic atmosphere. The club want this to change for the better, and we at Roker Report want to provide as much support as possible in creating a positive, and productive relationship between the fans and our club.

Subsequently, more interactions between fans, fan-led groups and the club must take place in an environment that is inclusive and helps promote positive action. The club acknowledge this is an issue that can be remedied, and will be working hard to foster opportunities for fans to voice their opinions and ask questions of their own without being faced with silence. So stay tuned for future announcements about fan-led projects aimed at enabling anyone and everyone the opportunity to understand what’s really going on at the club, and how we can help to make things better.

The meeting was very positive, and although there is much work to be done - we are confident that the club seem intent on repairing the relationship between itself and the fans. This is just the beginning, but hopefully alongside an improved season on the pitch there will be much work conducted off it that will be just as important for the long-term success of our club.

As a collective of concerned fans, we at Roker Report desperately want these talks to progress and succeed. Please get in touch and give us your opinions on what you think would help the club move forward. This is the perfect opportunity to make real progress in reuniting the club and its fanbase, so get involved!

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