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Fan Letters: Analysis of Max Power’s red card - humble pie for some Sunderland fans, me included

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Max Power was dismissed for the third time this season on Saturday, and many of us were angry when it happened. With the benefit of hindsight, would it be fair to say most of us got it wrong? Email us: RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk - we’ll include your message in a future edition!

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I feel compelled to make my views known re: the latest dismissal of Max Power, even if it was claimed in some quarters to be unjust. For as a result of Saturday’s misdemeanour at Walsall, his number of dismissals so far this season now stands at a rather staggering total of three, a rather bad record in anyone’s books, but even more so considering that we’re only just over a third of the way through the season.

Though at the same time it’s a rather surprising statistic, as he had apparently never been dismissed prior to this season. We did of course manage to hang on for a win after he saw red at Bradford, and had he managed to remain on the pitch v Oxford back in September and on Saturday at the Banks’s Stadium, then who knows, we may well have collected full points in both games and be sitting proudly on top of League 1 right now. As it happens, who knows how costly those lost points may prove to be come next May.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish to single out individual players for criticism unnecessarily/for the sake of it, but, is it not fair to say that, in view of his three rather needless red cards to date, that Max Power has become something of a liability to our side/to our bid to regain Championship status at the first attempt?

After all, if anyone else were to display such reckless behaviour in any other line of work, then they’d surely soon find themselves with an appointment at the local jobcentre, so while Power now faces another period of suspension, it will also be interesting to see what happens re his future at the club.

For the fact is that asides from the basic requisites of skill and ability, discipline plays a major part when it comes to success in football or any sport for that matter, so as our players are professionals, and rather well-paid ones at that, surely they should have enough about them to know how to handle matters on the pitch in the correct manner, and not do anything stupid or rash, no matter what the circumstances may be.

So while our current League position is rather healthy, events on Saturday at Walsall may have given Jack Ross a bit of food for thought and not just Max Power but that, generally speaking, in addition to giving 100% while they’re on the pitch, his troops also need to keep their heads at all times in future, else I feel that all the good work accomplished so far may well end up being all for nothing.

Andrew Cockburn

Ed’s Note [Gav]: First off, Andrew, thanks for giving such a measured view on the Power situation. Even if I might not totally agree, it’s an easier one to counter than some of the other letters we received (all 15 of them, in fact!) in the aftermath of Max’s dismissal. Instead of publishing and responding to all, I’ll stick with yours.

As soon as it happened (and for pretty much all of Saturday night) I too held the opinion that this was a step too far from Power, and that it was going to be hard to defend him after a third dismissal of the season. The tackle looked rash and late, and the lack of protestation from the player as he trudged off the pitch told it’s own story - he was distraught, too upset to argue his case to the referee.

Grainy footage didn’t really help to make a fair judgement, so it wasn’t until Sunday morning when I was able to watch the highlights on Colin Murray’s Quest show that I was able to make more sense of it.

Firstly, I think Power was stupid for putting himself in that position anyways. I have no doubt he regrets even going into the challenge now, but he did. It reminds me a little of when Lee Cattermole was younger and he suffered a similar set of circumstances - he was definitely the victim of having a reputation (and you could argue that he still is, he just learned to play differently) but he was also so immature that he got himself into those situations, something difficult to curb if you are a passionate, all-action midfielder.

That aside, I think Power has been incredibly unfortunate.

The Walsall player made an absolute meal of the situation and rolled around like he’d been smashed when, as the replay shows us, it was he that lunged in recklessly and Power’s foot was actually in the ground, as opposed to the player’s leg.

Had he not acted the way that he did, you could argue that the Walsall player might have got himself a red instead. He comes off the ground two footed, an inexcusable attempt to win the ball in the modern game, and it would appear in fact that the referee was conned. Not only conned by the player who made it look like he’d had his leg snapped, but by his own bias knowing fully that Power had already received two red cards this season.

We’ll find out at some time today if Power’s red card has been rescinded, and sadly I don’t expect that it will be because common sense very rarely prevails and it’d take the referee to admit he made a mistake for that to happen. Either way, I think a lot of us were pre-prejudiced - me included - when we saw the name of the player dismissed as opposed to carefully analysing how the whole situation played out.

Me personally, I’d like to apologise to Power for my in-the-moment judgement of it - it turns out that, like with the Oxford dismissal, he’s been unlucky.