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Fan Letters: “So many questions - what would a forensic audit of Sunderland’s finances reveal?”

At what is undoubtedly a time of uncertainty there are many questions from Sunderland supporters about the true nature of our financial situation that we might never get the answers to. Got something to say? Email us: - we’ll include your message in the next edition.

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Dear Roker Report,

We repeatedly hear the club will concentrate on bringing through youngsters, but we do not seem to bring through that many in actuality.

Yes, we have had a few such as Asoro and Maja and Robson play to some extent, but compared to a club like Leeds, where they will have several players between 18-20 play over the course of the season, it is not a great number.

When you add in the players Leeds sign at 18 or 19 such as O’Connor or Shaugnessy, they seem to place a great deal more emphasis on youth.

Now one might argue that someone like Honeyman, Love, and McNair add to the number of youths we play, but these players are all 23 - they are young, but they do not really county as blooded academy players.

Do you think we have not pushed through as many players because of the side fighting relegation, or is our academy not quite as good as we might like to think?

Is there any likelihood that we could have half a dozen or more players from the academy or in the 18-20 range playing next season?

Colter Lasley

Ed’s Note [Gav]: In truth I think the club have done a decent job this year of involving young players, but historically we’ve been awful and if you scratch beneath the surface you’ll find a horrendous policy on development that needs to be addressed pretty quickly.

We’ve let players leave this year that might have came in handy next season - Tom Robson being the main one. He’s gone to Falkirk and they love him there. We won’t have any left backs once Galloway and Oviedo leave - why didn’t we hang on to him?

So whilst I feel we’ve done well giving chances to Asoro, Honeyman and Gooch this season, I think we’ve been poor in other areas and haven’t really done ourselves any favours with the way we develop young players.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have been following Sunderland since 1978. I live in Cork city and live not far from Roy Keane’s parents house. In fact I played for Roy’s schoolboy club, Rockmount, in my own youthful days.

As with all Sunderland supporters the past two seasons have been heartbreaking. God only knows whats around the corner. My own health isn’t great and following Sunderland over the last two seasons hasn’t helped.

I’m hurting here in Ireland so I can only imagine what it’s like for the people of Sunderland.

Let’s hope a new prosperous owner/owners will save our club. Give Chris Coleman time - at least three seasons to get us back where we belong, the Premier League.

Here’s wishing and praying for a change of fortune.

Sean Wilson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: First off Sean I’d like to say your health improves soon - hopefully the Lads can turn it round next season and provide some happiness for us all. God knows we need it!

I agree with your stance on the manager - I wouldn’t like to put an exact time on it but I think we’d benefit from just sticking it out with a manager and letting them lay down some groundwork that will help us to develop over time. There’s been a massive issue at this club with short-term fixes and thinking and that’s been a large part of why we are in this mess.

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Dear Roker Report,

A lot has been written about how much Short has put into the club and some people even have sympathy for him. However no one appears to know how much he has taken out in expenses, fees, interest etc. What is his real investment after tax allowances and other financial nuances?

For the last decade interest rates have been rock bottom, but it is reported the Club are paying 8%. Has no effort been made to refinance these loans? Is Short charging this kind of rate?

Has the parachute payment been used to reduce bank debt or his position?

It is difficult to understand how someone who has made his fortune in finance can have allowed the situation to develop to the present position as he could have cut his losses a long time ago.

I wonder what a forensic audit would disclose. Unfortunately only administration could possibly lead to full disclosure. However due to the FA’s attitude, only the club and supporters suffer if this were to happen.

They appear to think that once someone has ticked the right boxes they have done their job. How many clubs have been ruined by so called suitable owners?

It could well be that I am totally wrong and Mr Short has in fact been fully committed to the club but lack of detailed information raises suspicions, and even allowing for so called commercial sensitivity the supporters could be better informed and their loyalty appreciated by actions, not pretty words.

Chris Holmes

Ed’s Note [Gav]: You’ve got many questions there and I agree, it’s difficult to see how we’d get the answers that we need when it appears difficult to get full disclosure on the true state of the club’s finances. Sunderland AFC have until the end of next month to submit their accounts for 2016/2017 and I’m sure that they’ll make for interesting reading.

Really, all of this uncertainty just further strengthens the need to change owners as soon as possible. Ellis Short’s lacklustre approach to owning this club has been galling to even an amateur observer like myself and the sooner we can draw a line under the mess he’s presided over, the better.

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