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Fan Letters: “If money can’t motivate Sunderland’s players, what will? Here’s one suggestion...”

“The money these players earn when they’re so young means that they seem to lack ambition unless they are top players”, says RR reader Paul. Got something to say? Email us: - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report

I’ve read/heard just recently - perhaps not too surprisingly all things considered - about the possibility of fan protests taking place during the remainder of this season, either in the form of fans boycotting of games, turning their backs on a game while it is in progress, or exiting the stadium at a certain time. Aimed to illustrate their feelings on our current plight.

I could well sympathise with those involved should these protests actually come to fruition, particularly in view of the undoubted frustration and disappointment on the part of the fans after yet another woeful chapter in our club’s history, one which looks like ending in relegation to English football’s third tier for just the second time.

However, and as justified as it may be, this may well have counter-productive implications. Would it not be better, more positive, possibly also more productive long-term, if our fans were to “bite their tongues” as it were, and put on a show of strength/defiance/solidarity, even if matters on the pitch are far from ideal and the club in general is in a mess from top to bottom?

It has been pretty well documented that Ellis Short wishes to offload the club, and the SAFC hierarchy would have to be totally naïve not to be aware of the general feeling among the fan base at present. A change is needed, and is long overdue in fact. Its my guess that attendances, at least in the last few home games, may dwindle further, possibly even below the 20,000 mark. But even so, rather than compound matters with what in effect would be more negativity from the stands, wouldn’t a display of positivity not be better?

They say the fans’ support can be a worth a goal head start, so even if the current season is more or less a write-off getting behind the side 100% in the last few games, hard as it may be, could just prove to be a catalyst for recovery.

A fresh, bright, new chapter.

This may all sound overly optimistic in the current climate, but, what was ever gained by dwelling on gloom, negativity? You have to take the rough with the smooth in life and that applies of course in the world of football. Granted, we’ve had more than our share of the rough in recent times, but still, if just one ray of sunshine can shine through dark clouds, one tiny glimmer of light can appear at the end of the long, dark tunnel, then who knows, it may just point the way to better times ahead.

Andrew Cockburn

Ed’s note: Another great letter Andrew, and I agree that we could all benefit from some positivity right now. I’ll admit, as editor of this website this week I’ve had to try and think of ways we can be different, and I’ve tried to deliver some positive news and articles for our readers as I think the constant dwelling on gloom isn’t helping anyone.

Regarding protest, I just don’t believe that there’s enough of an appetite for it. That much is clear in the dwindling attendances, and the fact that nobody really seems to know what we’d be protesting about, or to who. As I’ve stated clearly on numerous occasions, we here will happily support something if we think it’s worthwhile. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be much occurring, and I think that in itself speaks volumes.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Is it just me or does the money in the modern game sicken anyone else? Bang average players earning superstar money - one good contract and they are made for life.

What does this do for their ambition? Is it about winning trophies or earning money?

So how do you motivate players today? Well, money won’t do it. Win bonuses are waste of time!

Watching our players go through the motions week after week doesn’t suggest they have any personal pride. The money these players earn when they’re so young means that they seem to lack ambition unless they are top players.

However one thing they can be given by the manager is free time or time off. So how could this motivate them?

Well one way could be to work them hard when they are not performing - train them three sessions a day for six days a week. Explain to them this is the new regime until they start performing.

Then when results change reward them with time off. This is the one thing the club and manager can give them. Then they have time to do what they want and spend their wealth.

Is this the one thing that will motivate them? It’s worth a try and they might just respond.

It might just be worth a try, if nothing else it will make them fitter and sort out the ones who want to play for the club.


Ed’s note: Your plan sounds very good but if it was that simple everyone would be doing it. I think they do probably work hard in training, and Coleman has suggested as much on numerous occasions - if he was seeing the problems we see every Saturday in training he’d do something about it.

Sadly, much of Sunderland’s problems this season have came from individual errors. Every single week someone makes a catastrophic error that leads to a goal being conceded. This is probably the most frustrating season we’ve seen at Sunderland in some time for that very reason - it’s another player with another daft mistake every single week!

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