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Fan Letters: Would fans staying away from the SOL give Sunderland’s players a kick up the arse?

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RR reader Ian has suggested that Sunderland fans stop turning up to home games to give the players a kick up the arse, whilst Richard was at Gillingham the other night and has a few things to say. Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk!

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Leauge One Photo by Tim Markland/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Being one of the unfortunate 329 there to witness the lads last night and having travelled to Wycombe and Oxford since Parkinson took the reigns, I can honestly say that while the bulk of fans say last night was shocking, the sad thing is it did not shock me in the slightest.

Parkinson assures us he has watched all of the videos of the season so far several times. I think perhaps this may be misleading.

If he had, then he would realise after the preseason games and Oxford at home in the first half, that we cannot play 3 at the back. We are not equipped, yet he has tried and tried again with last night being ever typical of our style. Resolute at the back, no support in the middle and whacking long balls over the top for Grigg and Watmore to chase. Soaking up pressure and being hit without being in real danger but having little purpose or style.

Toothless up front against Oxford (in the cup) until he went with 2 up the top of the park and absolutely dire last night but nothing changed. No lessons learned from either being at the helm or watching DVDs.

I don’t blame Grigg, McGeady, McNulty, Watmore or any other player. The responsibility for this shambles lies at the door of the manager.

As for the owners, they have done a good job steadying the ship. The current predicament however lies at their door.

Ross was a decent appointment promising an attacking brand of football where we would lose games 3-1 because we would be going for it.....

After clamour from the fans he played 4-4-2 for a period and it looked like we would romp the league. Then, the worst thing happened in that we lost that remarkable game against Coventry at home. That gave Ross the permission to change it to be tight at the back and sacrifice attacking intent.

The current manager seems to have the same modus-operandi. Try to keep it tight and pinch a goal. Fine when you have a transfer embargo and a poor team, not fine when you have a potent attack for the division you play in and can’t defend for toffee.

Sadly therefore I was not shocked by the performance last night, as soon as I saw the team, we got what I expected.

Richard Purvis

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I can sort of see what the idea was with playing three in defence - it was to protect the defenders we put out there because none of them were really equipped to play in the game. Ozturk wasn’t fit, De Bock is an average left back playing out of position, and Brandon Taylor is a rookie making only his second first team start.

You are right, however - it doesn’t work, and never will. Hopefully that’s the last we see of three at the back (unless we have to play it again through desperation like on Tuesday).

I really don’t agree that we can’t ‘blame’ our forwards - they’re all experienced players who have mainly played their club football at a much higher level, and the effort and productivity that we’ve seen from them in recent weeks has been shocking. They need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves “am I doing enough?”.

I think that any grace period that Parkinson had has now passed. The next two games could literally make or break our season - failing to win both will see us fall further behind the pack leading at the top, and more poor performances and results will establish us as a team who might be lucky enough to make the play-offs - not good enough, really.

Gillingham v Sunderland: FA Cup First Round Replay Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I would say that when the owner of any business or football club has to enter into a loan to carry out routine maintenance to the infrastructure of that business/club (repair roof leaks/repair lifts/repair sound system speakers and so on) and have to secure ALL the assets of that business/club against that loan, then all confidence in that business/club evaporates.

The cut backs already have been drastic, so this must be a real concern to current staff at the SOL and players. How do you think we are going to attract decent quality players or a decent manager in this state?

The players must feel like they’re on the Titanic.

Sam

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Hmm... I take your point but since we’re a League One club I doubt that such things bother the kind of players who operate at this level. Financial instability is fairly common amongst clubs in the lower reaches of the Football League, and the kind of players that we’re in for will probably jump at the chance to play for Sunderland - that’s the reality of the situation, whether we are doing particularly well in the league or not.

I do think however that the older, more experienced players could be holding us back. Grigg, Maguire, McGeady and Leadbitter have been poor in recent games and I wonder whether they’ll all still be here in January if they can’t dig in and show their quality.

I think ten million quid coming into the club can only be viewed as a positive - provided, of course, it is used well and improves us as a result. Time will tell on that one.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The club has been in freefall for years.

You can’t take away what has been done to get the club to where it is off the pitch.

We can all moan as much as we like on sites, the way to let the players know what the fans think is to all stay away for the next home game.

Yes it will hurt but it will hurt the players more when they play in the stadium with no atmosphere it will also show the owners that something needs doing.

If professional footballers can’t work out what to do on their own on the pitch then they are in the wrong job.

Ian Campbell (Another frustrated supporter)

Ed’s Note [Gav]: My definition of ‘supporter’ is that you back the team through thick and thin. 30,000 people would agree - our crowds this season have been fantastic, home and away. I know that things aren’t great, but saying people need to stay away is, to me, a stretch. We’ll need to work through this tough period and that only happens if we stick together. If you want to stay away that’s totally up to you, though!