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Fan Letters: “Our family’s winter trip to Sunderland from the USA in December was pure magic!”

USA born and bred, but an adopted Mackem at heart - Roker Report reader John Jiler regales his tale of his trip across the pond to take in a game at the Stadium of Light over Christmas. Got something to say? Email us: - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Our family’s winter trip to Sunderland from America back in December was pure magic.

From our sunny morning walk to the crystal sea, to the deep generosity of the people we met, to my son’s thrilling introduction to some of his football heroes, it was all we hoped for.


The draw with Birmingham was disappointing. And if we couldn’t beat them when they were down to ten men, is it really a surprise that they thrashed us on their home ground with eleven?

Well, let’s chalk it up to Chris worrying so much about the transfer window that he forgot to prepare the team for the match.

There is, however, a troubling ‘vibe’ coming off the team (as I would have said in my hippie days). I don’t necessarily subscribe to the Gustavo Poyet idea of ‘rot’ at the centre of the club, but it’s worrisome when your most expensive signing ever is going out on LOAN!

I will hardly surprise anyone by suggesting that the problem is Ellis Short. I’m embarrassed to say that my fellow countryman is oblivious to the soulfulness of football. No doubt he’s concluded, like many bottom-line businessmen, that he shouldn’t ‘throw good money after bad.’

What has eluded him is the deep spiritual connection between the club and the beautiful people of Sunderland. The soul of a place, if assaulted and/or ignored long enough, will wither away….


John Jiler

Ed’s note: John, I’m actually quite glad that your trip across the Atlantic resulted in you seeing a Sunderland team at its best - being unable to defeat a team with ten men is about as authentic as it gets, so you can at least say that you experienced what it’s truly like to sit in the Stadium of Light most of the time!

In all seriousness though, I appreciate you staying in touch regarding your trip across and the genuine fandom that some of our supporters across the globe have for the lads - and the lengths they’ll go to just to take in a game - never ceases to amaze me.

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