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Fan Letters: Could Sunderland’s ‘better’ youngsters honestly do any worse than the 1st teamers?

“Have Sunderland got enough latent talent in their ranks for Parkinson’s Pups? It sounds like they couldn’t do any worse, and may have some fire in their bellies!” asks Andrew Bailey. Got something to say?!

Danny Roberts

Dear Roker Report,

Well... where do I start.

Supporters first. We all have our opinions about how the game should be played. Tactics employed etc. But the last 2 games, maybe the supporters have been correct in moaning about the players on the pitch.

Yes we pay our money whether for a season ticket or at the gate. All we want is for the team to do good. So let’s get back behind them and show our support vocally.

Now for the players. Tuesday night. The body language of 75% of the players was shocking. Mc greedy. Mcloughing, Leadbitter, Lynch.

If they dont want to play for the club, drop them put some more of the youngsters in. I’m sure they will show some passion. Like Onien, Hume, Kimpioka.

Finally the Manager. Yes he’s only won 2 out of 10. Well them team has, and there lies the crux of the matter. No matter which manager we have it’s the players on the pitch who play the games. Win lose or draw, they are responsible. The manager picks the team gives them the tactics to try and play too. But if they are not interested, then he is on a loser. E.G. long ball to a forward who is surrounded by 3 6’ 6” defenders. Side way passing, which ends up going to the opposition. The poor manager then becomes the fall guy. If PP can’t get them playing together as a team, we will be stairing relegation in the face.

Not his fault. All down to the players enthusiasm for the Club and the game.


Ed’s Note [Tom]: I think the truth of the matter is somewhere in between the issues you raised. Could the players be doing better? Yes. Are they being set up in the correct system and motivated adequately? Perhaps not, if recent performances are anything to go by. As such, Sunderland are in a desperate situation.

It’s not looking good and something has to give.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have been following Sunderland AFC since 1948 when my father took me to see the occasional match at Roker Park. I remember the likes of Mapson, Stelling, Hudgell, Trevor Ford, Dickie Davis and the rest. Therefore I have been a supporter for 71 years. At one time we were described as the ‘Bank of England’ team.

I can safely say that the present owners, manager and players are the WORST in that long period of time. Even more depressing is the fact that you cannot see how we are to get out of this dreadful mess.

In the last few years, in particular, so many mistakes have been made – so many bad decisions. What makes it all doubly depressing is that the club’s supporters are among some of the best in the land. They have had precious little to cheer about in all of that time. We need a miracle and miracles do not happen very often.

I keep on hoping but must confess that I am beginning to lose interest.

Gordon Allen

Ed’s Note [Tom]: I think you make a great point that it’s really difficult to see how we get out of this mess, and that this lack of clarity is thoroughly depressing. Personally, I’d like to see the club hire a really progressive Director of Football, someone who brings all elements of the club together on one page. Someone who helps the team create an identity and strategy. Someone who oversees our recruitment strategy. Someone who is able to look at things from a point of view as to how we achieve success on the pitch and off it.

We feel very fractured as a club right now - something needs to change.

Sunderland v Gillingham - FA Cup: 1st Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Reading about supporters loosing faith after 50 years I can sympathise. Sunderland has been typified in my time by troughs of despair and some peaks of relative success but none so low as at present. During the recent run of cup games I experienced a strange new sensation of ennui - I wasn’t building myself up to expect anything really positive, as “it is the hope that kills you”!

That said it does nowt for the confidence and that seeps in where it matters in the league.

By all reports far too many senior players are not making an effort and I wonder if it is time for a bold move. Chelsea are doing alright at the moment and one thinks of “ the class of 92 and the Busby Babes. Have Sunderland got enough latent talent in their ranks for Parkinson’s Pups? It sounds like they couldn’t do any worse and may have some fire in their bellies!

Andrew Bailey

Ed’s Note [Tom]: You’re right in noting that things are looking bleak. I personally have very little confidence ahead of games, but still I cannot stop myself from watching the Lads every chance possible. I noted in the above response that I think hiring a Director of Football would be a positive move.

I’m not sure we have enough quality to load our first team with youngsters, but it’s fair to note that the likes of Ethan Robson (on loan at Grimsby) and Elliot Embleton (little used until picking up an injury), should definitely have been given a bigger chance this season.

Furthermore, we do have a couple of bright prospects who should be pushing for a place in the side. Ruben Sammut, Bali Mumba, and Lee Connolly are all canny players.

Who knows, perhaps they could help?

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