Dear Roker Report,
There is often a tendency to over analyse game, but rest assured it did not start with the digital age.
In the early sixties when I first followed the Lads, the trick was to hightail it from Roker to the coach parked on the riverside in time to hear the evocative opening bars of the Sports Report tune and the voice of Eamonn Andrews. You’d hear the day’s other scores and a report of the match you had just attended then spend the next hour or so arguing amongst yourselves the finer points of the game, and by the time you got back home to buy a Pink One - the Saturday Special was on, with match reports of all local matches.
Inevitably that would report on yet another version of the match you had just seen. Just goes to show we all see things from our own perspective.
P.S., - incidentally can I recommend any North East football fan to read The Far Corner by Harry Pearson reporting on matches at all levels of football in the area in one season 1993-1994?
Dear Roker Report,
When the Sunderland area voted overwhelmingly in favour of Brexit in June 2016, we shortly after lost our manager, Sam, who went to England, and then was set up by the press to lose his dream job.
Ellis Short, from the USA, whose main business is dealing with distressed European Assets, then lost interest in the club. Maybe Short lost a positive interest in the club shortly after the Brexit vote.
His business with the EU is in conflict with the Sunderland area voting to leave the EU.
Maybe Short was threatened by his EU business partners, who would withdraw their business, unless Short sabotaged the club, to punish the people in the area, who live for the club.
Which Short did sabotage very well. The Netflix documentary of a club in serious demise is sick.
There is no reason to film a football club in such decline. Martin Bain was his henchman!
In my opinion, and others, Short has sabotaged SAFC to further his alliance with his EU interests.
Ed’s Note [JN]: This is hilarious. I mean Brexit is a complete and utter pointless sh*tshow, but ha’way, you must have had a few thinking this conspiracy theory up. Firstly, Allardyce was in a sting, yes, but he deserved to lose the England job over his actions - thankfully he did.
Most of Short’s business interests were non-EU - up until the very last day of relegation into League One being confirmed he was interested, why? Because we were still merely one year away from the riches of the Premier League. He foolishly and earnestly believed the club would immediately bounce back.
Bain was his henchman, but even he ran the club in a matter where Short was very much on the periphery and really didn’t have a clue.
Aye, sabotage. That sabotage where he personally pays off £130m worth of debt.
Dear Roker Report,
I just finished watching “Sunderland ‘til I Die” on Netflix here in the U.S., and it was fascinating! I’m a rather casual fan of English football, but this documentary series was an excellent up-close look at what goes on behind the scenes of an English football club - all the little moments behind the scenes, all the personalities in the management offices and ticket office staff, all the hard work all week that goes into putting the team on the pitch for those 90 minutes every match day.
I found Martin Bain and Chris Coleman and their staffs to be (for the most part) highly sympathetic figures who really were trying to do their best under dire circumstances at a moment of great dysfunction for the club. Hopefully the new ownership will continue to get the club moving in the right direction.
Most of all, I appreciated this series for what it showed about the heart, dedication, resilience and character of the supporters of Sunderland AFC. I’ve visited the UK a few times, but mainly to London and Scotland - I now would love to visit the North East someday, and have a pint and see a match at the Stadium of Light. Wishing all the best to the Sunderland fans. I hope your team and your city can experience bigger joy and greater success in 2019 and beyond.
Ben Gran, Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A.
Ed’s Note [JN]: Unfortunately, the biggest issue with the documentary (aside from Ellis Short completely avoiding a large amount of criticism) is how (mainly) Martin Bain and Chris Coleman are portrayed.
They may have talked the talk and appeared sympathetic, but the pair are both hawkish figures and ran off with wads of cash after overseeing the most disastrous period in the history of the club. Just take note of how many different Rolex watches Bain sports throughout, he truly is like a fly on sh*t whenever that camera was nearby.
Trust me, Bain is a parasite and the buck largely stops with him and his horrific running of the club into a fully destroyed carcass. We lost all connection to those on the pitch and the club itself had no identity during the Short/Bain years. That is finally back now they’ve gone.
I do agree though, that it is a deeply personal and close documentary, far from the downright cold and detached Manchester City one. Where the filmmakers succeed is in getting the spirit and essence absolutely bang-on as for far too long the irrevocably loyal devotion of the fans has been the only light in a very dark tunnel for the club.
Dear Roker Report,
I am Marc from Germany and I have a very good friend from England for over 30 years. His Name is also Mark and he now lives near London, but his family comes from Sunderland.
He is a big Sunderland fan. Since we have known each other I’m interested in the club. Four years ago we visited my friend and his family and we were there on in April 2015 for the derby victory against Newcastle at the Stadium of Light.
It was my first game live in Sunderland, but not the last one. At Christmas I saw Sunderland ‘Til I Die on Netflix, it was great to see so much good about this fantastic club highlighted, especially the fans. I hope to come back soon to Sunderland. And I hope also, that we go back to the Championship this season.
Thank you very much and I wish you all the best in 2019!
Marc Teusch, Germany
Ed’s Note [JN]: Glad to have you aboard as an honorary Mackem, Marc! That match was one of the finest of recent memory; good football, glorious weather, and an incredible Jermain Defoe goal.
My abiding memory from the day is being in the then South Stand throughout half-time as half-drunk fans performed precarious dances on their chairs, refusing to go down for a half-time pint. To be honest, my memory of the entire day is hazy, despite having to go to work in a bar after the game (naturally to get sent home for being too drunk).
It is great to see so many people from afar writing in on the back of the Netflix documentary (though it is different for yourself) and taking a keen interest in the Lads.