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Fan Letters: A badly advised owner, Jack Rodwell’s millions & Sunderland’s recent stats of doom

Roker Report reader Alan Haddick believes poor decision making sits above lack of investment for our current predicament. Do you agree? Email us: - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

Sunderland’s harbinger of doom? |
James Nickels

Dear Roker Report,

Like many fans I am struggling with Ellis Short’s position at the moment.

There seems to be no sign of a buyer although we are told from time to time that he will sell the club if there is an acceptable offer.

The value of the club must be in free-fall given our current position making the likelihood of an acceptable offer even more remote than it was a year ago.

Mr Short won’t invest in new players even though that seems at the moment like the only way of halting a disastrous side into league One.

Mr Short is a successful businessman and must understand that his best hope of getting even close to his valuation of the club is dependent on, as a minimum, us retaining our Championship standing.

So here’s the rub, I get where he is coming from and have some sympathy with the man.

Let’s take Jack Rodwell as a case in point. Signed on a stupidly rich contract by some idiot who was playing fast as and loose with Mr Short’s cash we are now stuck with a player who it seems will see out the remainder of his contact rather than leave and restart his career. The cost of that is over £5m. That’s over a quarter of a million pound every month. Hartlepool are going bust over a £200k debt that he could pay off in just 3 weeks. He is taking Ellis Short’s money and giving nothing in return and if I was the owner that would piss me off more than a little bit and it’s only one part of the story. This is the kind of deal he has ended up funding again and again because of very poor advice from the “professionals” he trusted to guide him.

So what next?

Well I am hoping that a business decision to protect his investment in Sunderland will prevail and he will provide some sort of support for Chris Coleman before the month is out but I am not expecting it to happen.

I have been following this club for close to 50 years and have lived through many ups and a lot more downs. Yes I am angry that we are where we are but I am more angry with the people who have badly advised the owner than the man himself. With the money he has put into the club we should be a top half of the premier league team but that opportunity had been wasted by bad decision making and bad advice - not from lack of investment.

PS - I know this won’t be a popular viewpoint.

Alan Haddick

Ed’s note: Although I think Short’s intentions are far from esoteric and genuine at heart, the sheer size of his mismanagement of a once-proud club is bordering criminal. Maybe he has been badly advised, but the buck always has, and always will stop firmly at the Texas/Missouri businessman’s door.

Since taking over full control of all matters of the club and stepping into the role of Chairman after Niall Quinn’s resignation in October 2011, his tenure has been littered by mistake after mistake, and we are paying the price. Ultimately, these years of grave and ruinous wrong decision-making has led to the current lack of investment, which is paramount to ensure survival.

Soccer - World Cup England 1966 - Quarter Final - USSR v Hungary - Roker Park
Roker Park in 1966
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have been supporting SAFC since 1952. I can say I have had some bad times - but all the good times more than make up for those.

As the song goes, “I’m Sunderland ‘til I die”.

I was at Sunderland’s first ever game outside of the old First Division in 1958, Lincoln City away from home - guess the score? We lost 3-1...

Not much changes! I would love to meet anyone else who was at this game.

David Liddle

Ed’s note: If anyone was at the game and would like to have a bit crack with David, please get in touch via our email at the top of this piece and we’ll pass along his email address!

Soccer - Football League Division One - Fulham v Sunderland
Alan O’Neill and Don Kitchenbrand, two of Sunderland’s players from 1958!
Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I love the podcast and the site - keep it coming.

On the Rapport this week you had some pretty grim statistics, which really helped to illustrate the situation we’ve been in.

One piece of data I’ve been curious about is how many weeks in the last 5 years we’ve spent in the relegation zone. I know it’s going to be bleak, but I think it will help show how loyal we have been to the club despite what we’ve had to endure. Any help would be appreciated.

Your brother in misery,


Ed’s note: First of all, thanks for listening Pete. We’re all delighted you enjoy it so much - and without you listeners, it wouldn’t exist so we genuinely owe it to you. I’ve been long at work tonight raking through statistics, and here are our results.

Including this campaign, over the last 5 seasons, Sunderland have played 179 ((38*4)+27) weeks of football. During this time, we have spent a grand total of 5(!) weeks in the top half of either the Premier League or Championship.

108 of these 179 weeks have been spent in the relegation zone. Last season, we spent 0 weeks in the top half and 36 in the relegation zone. We were 20th for 16 of these weeks, including all the way from Match Day 22-38.

Furthermore, it may surprise you to know that we actually spent more weeks in the relegation zone last season under David Moyes (36), than in our infamous 15 point season (35). Grim reading indeed.

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