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Fan Letters: “Sunderland should copy the Bilbao model and only have North East based players!”

“If we operated the same system for the North East region we would have players instilled with the love and passion for the club and homeland”, says RR reader Arthur Newsome. Got something to say? Email us: - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: First Leg Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Has there been any insight from Chris Coleman or Martin Bain on the types of players that will be targeted this summer, specifically if the owner does not change? There has not seemed to be any particular direction or way recruitment has been pursued in the past, and I was just hoping there was some indication that has changed, and a direction has been chosen.

I think there is an obvious model club for Sunderland to follow in Preston North End. Preston in many ways is the antithesis of Sunderland, they are hard working, gritty, underpaid, and overachieving. They are loaded with some of the best young talent in the Championship which they have recruited cheaply from the LOI, the lower leagues, Manchester United’s youth teams or their own academy. It would seem a not particularly expensive model to follow as much lower wages might offset nominal fees, and many lower league players would surely view Sunderland as a big step up.

I would add, it may partially be our fault as fans that lower league players are not recruited. I think sometimes we are not the most supportive of recruiting no-name players from the third or fourth division, as we would rather have a star than develop a star. But if anything now we should support the pursuit of young and hungry players more than ever, and treat players from the Championship and Premier League with suspicion, for their are far too many on our team even now that seem to view the club as a temporary, backwater stop before moving on to greener pastures.

On a second topic, I somewhat get the positive view of Chris Coleman, he was a surprisingly big name for us to sign, but results wise he has been not much better than Grayson. There seems to be this goodwill towards Coleman that seems to only be correlated to his positivity. I am not saying he should be removed, Sunderland definitely needs some stability at the managerial position, but the team have not looked hardly any better than under previous managers. Perhaps Coleman truly cannot work with the talent he has, but I would say that to me does not indicate an exceptional manager.

Colter Lasley

Ed’s note: I think that Sunderland need to get back to being Sunderland. I take your point, that teams like Preston are a good example, but for me Sunderland should be about being bigger and better than the likes of Preston North End, and I mean that with no disrespect.

For me when I think back to my youth I remember a Sunderland team that wasn’t put together with a particularly large budget but had heart, desire, camaraderie and a personality that resonated with the fans. I want to see that again. Lads working hard for one another that recognise the opportunity they have when they play for this football club.

Where those players come from I really don’t care, but I think it’s fair to concede that our big spending days are over and that we will be forced to look down the leagues whether we like it or not.

CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I don’t think Chris Coleman is the right choice as manager - like Moyes, he’s living off his past glories. Somehow I can’t see him at Fleetwood or AFC Fylde scouting players on a Monday night.

Somebody like the Luton manager would be my choice. We need to start at the bottom with people who know the lower leagues.

Roger Stokell

Ed’s note: I respect your opinion Roger, but I can’t agree. Chris Coleman gets it and needs to be given the time and resources to show what he’s capable of. If he fails at that point then fair enough, but I just can’t judge him on what we’ve seen so far.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

For some time now I have been of the opinion that the club will have to radically change its way of thinking and operating going forward.

Ideally the club should be owned by the supporters - a long shot I know, but given the way its stock is being devalued day by day something has got to happen soon.

Secondly I believe that the only future for the club is for it to become the established regional club, in many ways similar to Athletico Bilbao of Spain, where no one outside its Basque region can play for the club.

If we operated the same system for the North East region we would have players instilled with the love and passion for the club and homeland.

Its a long term strategy and given a chance just could work.

Arthur Newsome

Ed’s note: I know you’ve suggested this before, but I just don’t see how that could ever work. If we had the catchment area of a large city it could possibly work but the fact is that this club has produced only two top tier players in what, ten years? I just don’t know how that’d be sustainable. Seems a bit of a pipe dream to me.

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