Dear Roker Report,
If ever we needed confirmation that we’ll be in League 1 next season, then it surely came courtesy of the latest “horror show” v Aston Villa at The SOL. Its hard to take so much as one positive from the 0-3 embarrassment, indeed, I seem to recall Benno summing the game up on Radio Newcastle afterwards as “painful from start to finish” (at least from our perspective).
Having also witnessed it first-hand I have to agree with him 100%. In fact, I guess you could have more or less put money on Brucey exacting his “revenge“, also that Grabban would find the net on his own Wearside “homecoming“. I don’t think that Villa will ever again come across an easier three points/three goals, but all due to the “same old, same old“, i.e. the sort of defensive indecisiveness which would put a local Sunday League outfit to shame.
Lets face it, we could have played till midnight and still not have scored, while the fact that the Villa keeper made only two real saves of note, contrasted to the ease with which three of his team-mates found the back of our net says an awful really.
Benno also raised the very valid point/question - “just where do we go from here?” Well, the most obvious answer would seem to be to League 1. OK, the situation at the bottom is unchanged positionally/we’re still only four points from safety, but only due to the failings of some of our fellow strugglers, in which case, just how will the misfortune of others help our own cause, i.e. to bridge the points gap/retrieve what is looking like an increasingly hopeless cause? How can a team which can neither defend or attack effectively hope to achieve survival? Does Chris Coleman REALLY know his ideal first eleven, but even if his tactics/selection were again questionable, has he simply now ran out of options, with most of his squad having demonstrated again that they’re simply not up the task?
Lots of questions then it seems to be answered. I’ve said before on that we need maybe five/six wins to have a chance of survival, but on the evidence of the Villa farce, its hard to see even another point being gained, let alone a win(s), even with ten games left for us to try and bring about our salvation. So while I hope to proved wrong, perhaps 6th March 2018 was the date that the death knell was effectively sounded on our time in The Championship, for “Mission achievable” has surely now become “Mission impossible”. It never rains but it pours I guess.
Ed’s note: I’m pretty much resigned to it. I wasn’t expecting to win yesterday but I was expecting the players to at least put up a fight. They’re so weak that they can’t play in front a sparsely populated stadium every other week. It’s maddening.
Dear Roker Report,
I’ve just got back from the Villa match - this is worst Sunderland team I’ve seen in my 35 years as a fan. They’re rotten to the core - a gutless, heartless bunch of players.
How much longer have us fans got to put up with this? Our goalkeeper is a joke, and loan players like Jonny Williams laughing and carrying on at half time warming up sums the whole club up - they could not give a damn.
Ed’s note: I wrote this piece this morning, you should check it out. It feels like some of the players are just waiting to see the next two months out before getting as far away from here as they possibly can.
Dear Roker Report,
How the mighty have fallen. I was never a fan of Moyes but Sunderland were unlucky at the end there and those results sent them down.
After a calamitous recruitment campaign I thought maybe we’d would finish behind the pack but like many I never thought relegation. So here we are, looking into the abyss.
Now, you have to like Chris Coleman but he’s making the same mistakes Simon Grayson made by persevering with duds.
Like any sport there are pivotal moments when a game is lost. Earlier in the season it was Steele who cost valuable points. Why on earth was Mannone sold? They’ve replaced him with three wages; right now Stryjek looks the pick, and we already had him.
Jones has to go, too many mistakes at set pieces. Fletcher has to go too, he’s useless. Refer him to Titch at the Mariners to learn him. Now there’s a bloke who does a days work then puts in a shift on a cow paddock and shrugs off knee high tackles, not like these fairy floss players on obscene money who can’t kick a ball and are more concerned what their hair looks like. I see the new breed don’t have noses like Steve Bruce.
Just how scouts can put a value of 6.5m on the likes of Fletcher really makes you query just what criteria they use to assess whether a player has talent or not. What are they basing it on?
Things really are grim. Talk about knocking the guts out of the faithful, hard working, tough, humorous, knowledgeable staunch passionate supporters. I feel betrayed.
Ed’s note: I guess we’ll see whether Coleman perseveres with Fletcher on Saturday against QPR. I hope to god that he doesn’t, because I agree - he’s woeful. Joel Asoro starts up there for me, provided the plan isn’t to just punt aimless long balls to him all afternoon.
Dear Roker Report,
Following the Boro game I came to the realisation that the only way I could cope was to completely change my own mentality towards the club and it’s current situation.
I decided that I was going to just treat each game (mainly the home ones as I actually attend these) in total isolation and with complete ignorance towards how it would affect our league position, situation, or chance in even the next game. This resulted in me having a cracking day and actually enjoying myself inside the SoL for the first time in god knows how long, whereas if I’d have looked at the bigger picture I’d have came out thinking the same old thoughts of “point not good enough, stupid red card, throwing away a lead” etc.
Fast forward NINE days and I found myself sitting in that stadium already questioning this positive mentality change I’d decided to try out. NINE DAYS! I even found myself starting to question Chris Coleman.
1. “Why are we playing 5 at the back when we are so desperate to win?”
2. “Why is he playing Fletcher? There has to be something in the loan agreement.”
3. “What the f*ck was the point in that substitution when Jones came on?”
But then I came to the realisation that even if he’d started off with four at the back and the likes of Williams and Asoro we’d still lose miserably because that’s just what happens.
I’ve been resigned to the fact that next year we are going to be playing league one football and there’s every chance we will struggle in there as well, providing we don’t actually go into liquidation and cease to exist before that.
I don’t even know where I’m heading with this, and just fancied a bit of a rant. All I remember is that when we appointed Coleman I wrote something along the lines of “it doesn’t matter who we appoint, nothing is changing until short goes and there’s a full revamp from top to bottom” and unfortunately that seems to be the case.
Ed’s note: I can’t disagree with that last paragraph. Steve Bruce, Martin O’Neill, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat, Simon Grayson, Chris Coleman - they can’t all be bad managers. Some of the players we still have played under Bruce almost nine years ago, and they’re still stinking the place out now. I just want to fast forward two months and get past this absolute shitstorm in all honesty, regardless of whether we are in League One or not.