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Fan Letters: “I’m still trying to get my head around why we let Josh Maja leave Sunderland!”

Concerns around the decision to sell Josh Maja and remembering not to panic are the topics hot on the lips of Sunderland supporters in the RR Mailbag today. Email us: - we’ll include your message in the next edition!

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Dear Roker Report,

I write this at a time when no striker has been signed yet on Deadline Day. I write it anticipating some fans having a negative or critical attitude as a result of this window.

I think it’s important we, as fans, remember where we were only 12 months ago, remember how much this new Chairman and owner has reinvigorated the club, and remember how much of an overhaul the club required and has gone through. It has been a rough window in some ways, but I think we should admire rather than reproach that our club said we would not overpay for players anymore and would not make rash, short sighted signings for the sake of a signing.

The Owners and Manager were put in an unfortunate position by Maja and his agent, and they have done their best I believe. Perhaps us paying three million, if we had it or could, would get us promoted, but it would subvert the values the new ownership group is trying to instill, and it would tell other clubs that eventually we will just pay up regardless of our own valuations of a player. It is essential that the club moves forward with a comprehensive and detailed plan in order to assure long term success. Principles matter more often than some people imply. If we forget our principles at the first instance of trying circumstance, than do we really hold those principles at all.

Going forward, this window will be a valuable teaching tool. It will reiterate the importance of having players signed as replacements before sales occur, and will reiterate the importance of having transfers set up well in advance.

Maybe us not getting the striker we desire will be the factor that prevents us from being promoted, but maybe it will be the spur to encourage Ross to use his mind to figure out other ways to win, maybe it will provide the opportunity and platform for Wyke to thrive, maybe it will allow a youngster to come in and pick up right where Maja left off, maybe it will make the midfielders and defenders think they have to dominate because there is no guaranteed scorer.

There is no way to know right now, but I think we should go forward remembering where we were not so long ago, and confident in the intentions and ambition of our club.


Colter Lasley

Ed’s Note [Gav]: A lot of people struggle to stay calm in pressure situations and with time dwindling down, we are yet to sign the two strikers we’re after, so some fans are starting to (understandably) feel twitchy.

That said, I’m largely in agreement with you. There’s no use in us, at this stage, placing pressure on the shoulders of the people working on transfers because there’s no doubting that they’re hard at work trying to get deals over the line.

I’m not worried about their intentions.

I’ll just take this opportunity to point people reading this to the statement we released which came through us via Stewart Donald today - in essence, the club have purposely gone silent and won’t be leaking out information relating to transfers today, because they want to just concentrate on getting deals done without the need for feeding stuff to the press, which is totally understandable.

We’ll all have plenty of time to judge this transfer window once the deadline has passed and we can properly assess the state of play. Right now, though, there’s still a little bit of time left and we have to just hope they get the job done.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am still trying to get my head around the Josh Maja transfer. We think the club has received £1.75m in the short term for a player of immense talent and potential. The club has now got to spend probably the same amount for a proven goal scorer who might be okay in League 1 but not proven in the Championship (should we get promoted).

Keeping Maja until the summer means letting him go for £350,000 - £500,000.

So the question is how much is promotion worth to Sunderland?

Not much according to these figures.

Personally I would have kept him and taken the hit in the summer, we stood more of a chance of being promoted with him than without him. Once promoted the club can attract a better class of striker.

Living in hope


Ed’s Note [Gav]: Stewart Donald has promised that he’ll address all of the concerns around deals done during this window when he appears on the Roker Rapport Podcast next, so I guess we’ll get a proper run-down of why certain things happened then. But, for now, we’re left guessing, and a lot of fans share the same concerns about Maja as you do.

Josh Maja, from what I’ve been told, informed the club he intended to never play for us again - in which case I feel we were right to sell him. I don’t know much about the ins and outs of the transfer but what I do know is that we shouldn’t hold on to any player who doesn’t want to be here. If that is indeed the case with Josh then I think we were right to move on.

But that’s just my opinion and I’m sure that many will disagree. It’s a tall order replacing a man who scored 16 League One goals and I just hope whoever it is that we bring in today is good enough to hit the ground running.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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