Dear Roker Report,
I knew we’d be relegated from the Premiership the moment Big Sam left and David Moyes was appointed. When Grayson was appointed I predicted another relegation battle and although I was hopeful that Coleman might bring some magic, I feared that the damage was already done and our fate sealed. As a club, just what have we got to fight with?
Ellis Short - A man with zero interest in Sunderland as a club, city or people. He’d love to sell but he’s clearly done throwing good money after bad and while he’ll keep the tips of our noses above water financially for now, he’s not prepared to sink another penny into the club under any circumstances.
Martin Bain - Yes, he’s unfortunate in being the figurehead of a complete basket-case club but you can’t escape the fact that his tenure has been an unmitigated disaster. He has overseen almost all of our assets being sold, the magnificent stadium falling into a state of disrepair, the acquisition of some terrible players being paid far more than their worth and now he’s on the cusp of his second successive relegation with no immediate end to our fall in sight.
Chris Coleman - I rate him as a manager and had he been backed, I think we might be OK but he’s been hung out to dry and must be ruing the day he ever took over at Sunderland AFC. He may well last to the end of the season but he’ll leave once we’re relegated and who can blame him? He’s far too good for us and frankly, I wouldn’t blame him if he walked out tomorrow. Once he’s gone to pastures new and certainly better, who would want to take on Sunderland even in League One as the way we’re going, it will be another relegation battle there thanks to Short and Bain.
Goalkeepers - So we sold one world class keeper and one very decent keeper and in their place we brought in the three wise monkeys! Steele is a waste of space as a traffic cone would make a better keeper and while Ruiter is a bit better, that’s hardly a ringing endorsement. I suppose he’s like having another couple of traffic cones stood in the net. Then there’s Camp, who is again an improvement but in truth he really struggles to even look bang average. That leaves Stryjek, who must be the best of a bad bunch by a process of elimination but is deemed too young to trust. He’ll be gone in the summer I would imagine.
Defenders - Jones is a joke and might find his level in League 1 but I wouldn’t bet my mortgage on it. JCS isn’t living up to the hype in any way and will return to his parent club anyway, as will plenty of others. O’Shea looks like he should have retired a couple of years ago at least and Kone gave up playing for us so long ago that I think his current plan is to reduce his own value so far that somebody can’t refuse the chance to take a punt on him. He’s certainly no longer looking like a saleable asset so we’re not going to make a lot of money if/when he leaves. More accurately he’ll represent another big loss. I actually like Matthews and Oviedo so they’ll leave us in the summer as I think they’re both a bit too good for League One.
Midfielders - Good God, where do you start? Catts is a waste of space and Rodwell’s only interest in this club is taking his money every week. I can’t see Rodwell ever playing football again as I think he made the decision to retire when he arrived at Sunderland, We’re nothing more than a pension for him. Do we have any actual talent in the midfield? Actually, I think we do. Gibson has shown himself to be decent on his day and so has McGeady but they’re at the wrong end of their career and are past really caring. What about the youth of Honeyman, Gooch, Robson and Embleton I hear you cry. I’d rather be playing any or all of these than the old farts we tend to rely on so they are assets but that’s exactly why Bain will sell them in the summer. I doubt they’ll be with us next season and if they have any ambition at all, they’ll certainly be looking to leave Sunderland.
Forwards - Actually, I think we have some good players in Watmore, Maja and Asoro. Watmore may get injured a lot but he’s shown this year that he can be dangerous in the Championship so he’ll leave in the summer as a saleable asset to a Championship team. Maja and Asoro are both very young indeed but they’ve shown this year that they are also extremely good prospects. There will certainly be Championship clubs in for them when we’re relegated and possibly even a Premiership club and as assets, we can be sure that Bain will be eager to sell them to try to reduce the debt.
This all means that not only are we looking almost certain to be relegated this season, we’ll also have no manager and virtually no squad. What players we do have will only be those that couldn’t even raise two balls of string and a balloon in a transfer fee.
I fear that even after relegation to League 1, our fall will not be over. Administration will look highly likely and with the subsequent points reduction coupled with no manager, no squad and no more saleable assets, a further relegation to League 2 might be on the cards.
I don’t even think it’s inconceivable that Sunderland will cease to exist as a football club but even if we do, I don’t even see us being back in the Championship in my lifetime and I’m a healthy 53 years old. Getting a good buyer for SAFC soon is our only realistic hope in my view and they’re not exactly falling over themselves to buy us. Who can blame them?
Dear Roker Report,
Getting the fans behind the team is a laudable idea!
However, after a blue coated steward told my at the time 90 year old father that sitting in his folding wheelchair - watching the early kick off last season - was causing an obstruction, and that he’d have to leave the stadium, neither him, myself or my daughter (all of whom have had season tickets since the Stadium of Light opened) will be returning to watch the team.
If this is how the club can treat an old man who, in his youth, used to walk from Blackhall to Roker Park, as he only had the bus fare for one way, then they can do one.
I still support the team, and wish them every success, but the club will never get another penny out of my family.