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Fan Letters: “This January transfer window holds the future of our great club in its hands”

In today’s Fan Letters, Sunderland supporter Roy Logan of the Northern Ireland Supporters Club offers up his thoughts on the current state of Sunderland. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Sunderland v Reading - Stadium of Light Photo by Steve Drew/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

(In response to yesterday’s Roker Report Fan Letter from Lee Brown...)

Staying away might feel like the right thing to do, but is it? No, I don’t believe so.

I suppose as fans we need to remember what we want - a stable club, players playing for the shirt, good owners and competitive in the top flight again? Just now we’re a million miles away from that, but how do we get back to the place we can so distantly remember.

It may take a while, but one thing we can’t afford is another relegation. We have ten home games remaining of the season. There’s ten opportunities to get as many fans in to the ground, forget all of the negativity for ninety minutes and get behind our team. The football will continue to be poor, we won’t win every game and many of us will still be extremely frustrated come full time. But is staying away going to give our players and manager more confidence and the club we all love a better chance of winning games? I don’t believe it will.

The reason I hear the majority of people say they’re staying away is because of Ellis Short, which is completely understandable given the way the club has been run and continues to be run. However, for a prospective buyer, what is more promising?

A huge club competing again in the Championship, starting to look up the table and still attracting huge crowds week in week out, or a club that’s suffered back to back relegations, lost the majority of it’s fans coming to the stadium and is in a complete free-fall. If it was my money I know which club I’d rather buy.

If we want Short to go, we should remember he’s a business man and will want to sell for as much as he can. Will he try to sell us if we’re in League One? I personally don’t think so.

We’ve got under half a season of Championship football left under Chris Coleman. Let’s give him and our players as much confidence as we can between now and the end of the season, lets try and get the numbers back to the SoL and try to get the atmosphere back that we all know and love. If the players can respond to this under Coleman, then things could start to look better very quickly and give us a platform to build on for next season.

James Robson

Nottingham Forest v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I remember bemoaning on an SAFC fanzine the loss to West Ham of our best midfielder Don Hutchison. That was in 2001 and I can safely say that no attacking midfielder has since come close to his skill and eye for a pass and a goal.

Manager after manager has failed to see that the team needed a top quality attacking midfielder, or if they knew it they did nothing about it. Defensive hard men or crab passing, cross-pitch, low skill or semi-skilled journeymen are the only midfielders our long-suffering fans have been putting up with all those years.

The only manager to come out of the past few years with any credit is Big Sam, who brought in Khazri and Kirchhoff and demonstrated that having a ball-playing midfield can make an enormous difference in a struggling team. OK, he also got the best from those two “Ks” and the other one, Kone, certainly helped and their “demise” after Sam left is one of the reasons for our first relegation to the Championship (Coleman needs to be a miracle worker a la Sam to stop us plummeting further down the leagues).

Add to the dearth of solid, attacking midfielders the cash squandered on really poor attackers and defenders and you can start to have sympathy for the owner who had up to recently bankrolled manager after manager to change their inherited squad to one even worse than the one before.

All of us can list the awful signings with ease but try listing the good or great signings and I guarantee the list will be pretty short. Plus of course the many “curse” of Sunderland occurrences such as the Johnson fiasco, the resultant CEO resignation, the Allardyce to England kick in the teeth, and on and on and on.

It is sad to see that our current manager seems to be overlooking our midfield need with the present focus in a couple of youngsters in defence and attack. In fairness he has recognised that Gibson must be adequately replaced, as he was beginning to shine in a semi offensive, forward focused role, passing the ball to attack as well as defending when needed.

This January transfer window holds the future of our great club in its hands. Without a couple of big earners going out (and let’s be honest would you buy any of our squad) we will be scrabbling about in the loan, free, old and unwanted market. This doesn’t give much hope, considering we now have so little of the season remaining and have lost out to so many of the teams around us.

But hope has been the diet of us Sunderland supporters since the 1960’s so let us hope that Chris is a hit and not a miss.

Roy Logan, Northern Ireland Supporters Club