Dear Roker Report,
I am from the US, and only became a Sunderland fan five years ago. In that time, I fell in love with this club despite it being a rather bleak period.
It seems that relegation is an inevitability. While there are many teams that have been relegated to the lower leagues, and essentially collapsed, I think it is the only chance for the club to succeed with the current management.
It is tiring watching a team that neither seems to have a short term or long term plan. If we ever get a draw or a win, it feels like luck and unsustainable. It seems to me that the obvious solution, especially if we are relegated, is to model ourselves after Brentford or Barnsley. While as fans it is not exactly ideal to be a selling club, it may be the best way for us to rebuild.
By learning from clubs like Barnsley and Brentford who target younger, lower league players in Britain that have some grit and ambition, surely we will attract players that have more pride in playing for the club, as Sunderland offers them a big chance.
We then can work on developing and reselling some of them, which will help lessen debt.
They will cost money, many of them, but their wages will be lower than the Championship and Premiership rejects we currently have targeted. Also, we can develop a core style of play. We may still lose to the big spenders, but at least we will feel like we have a plan and are overachieving instead of constantly underachieving.
I am sure I am oversimplifying the difficulty of implementing the complex scouting system, that would need to be in place for that model to work; but, surely it is plain the model we currently follow is unsustainable.
Ed’s note: Good letter, Colter. You’re right - that is definitely the way to go, irrespective of which league we end up in next season. It won’t be as simple as just signing all the top talents from League One and Two but we have to be more creative with our acquisitions, and sign players who have it all to prove and will appreciate the opportunity to thrive at such a huge club. I think that Chris Coleman’s show of faith in Sunderland’s young players this season proves that he’s most definitely the right man to oversee the job, and I just hope he sticks around to see it through.