Dear Roker Report,
Hi guys - would love to voice my opinion on how I feel the club can change it’s current direction and start to bring the success that we all want.
Firstly I would like to say that the dismissal of JR was made at the wrong time . I can’t remember the exact numbers but at the time of his departure we were a few points off 2nd and had put some decent performances in the league cup , knocking out two premiership clubs ( reserve ) sides.
It’s clear to me that this current squad has the ability to play to an unacceptable / shocking level every now and then . Problem is every now and then appears to have changed to regularly under the current manager .
Expectations - I feel as though the current naive mindset of most fans is really starting to hinder us as a club . Does having a modern , large stadium with superb facilities mean we can roll out of bed and expect the lads to turn over our League 1 rivals ? Does having an academy automatically mean we can play sides off the park ? Does the fact the we have some of the most passionate and enthusiastic supporters mean we can dominate sides ? No .
Everything mentioned above is there to go hand in hand with a good footballing side and week by week , game by game it’s becoming apparant that we are simply not as good as we think we are
Moving forwards - for me this is a simple one . I don’t know how much the academy costs to run but it’s being completely wasted . We need players on the pitch that would bust a left bollock for us the fans and for the badge . Currently , other than O’Nein , I don’t see so much of that .
What I would like to see is the likes of Hume , Mumba , Kimps and Embleton form the core of the side . Will they make mistakes , yes , will the develop as footballers when given regular starts , yes . Will the supporters get behind the products of OUR youth academy , I for one would very much like to think so .
For me , the club needs to chose a direction and stick to it , the youth setup at the club is amazing ( I wish I was speaking with first hand experience ) but there’s enough talent that has come through the ranks here , which now other sides are reaping the rewards of - Conor Hourihane @ Aston Villa would be one example .
It’s clear that we will be very , very fortunate to get a sniff of the play offs with this current team so why not give the youngsters a go ?
I’d also like to highlight the success that Chelsea are currently having with their squad . How many people said the likes of Abraham , Mount & Timori wouldn’t be good enough for the Prem / CL ?
Our club is screaming out for its identity and who better to deliver on that front than the lads who have been playing for us for years , all with the dreams of making the first team .
Sometimes in life to move forwards , you need to take a step back . My view is that the more of our youngsters we can bleed in L1 , the greater the rewards will be for SAFC across the board .
Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Dan, thanks for writing in. Regarding your first two points, I think the sacking of Ross probably came at the right time, unfortunately the gamble on Parkinson just hasn’t worked. On the topic of fan expectations, I think we have every right to demand a certain standard of performance. Our facilities, superb fanbase, large expenditure on wages and fees (by League One standards) suggests we should be beating the majority of sides in this league; we aren’t, though, and that’s why fans are upset. It’s not about being above our station, in my opinion, but rather about having high standards and demanding success - that’s not unreasonable.
I do agree with your thoughts on several younger players deserving more game time. Hume is our best attacking left back, Mumba was thoroughly impressive last season - certainly better than the majority of our current midfield - and Embleton has been unlucky with injuries. From what I’ve seen, our younger players try to play in a more energetic, fast-paced manner - something we’re sorely lacking at present. I’d be open to giving them more opportunities.
Dear Roker Report,
I had a slight chuckle to myself initially, as I am sure many a Mackem may have, at the sight of Newcastle United handing out half season tickets for free to fill up SJP for the back end of the season.
Within those 10 Premier League games, fans will get to watch Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. Given that, I will be amazed if those additional 10,000 tickets don’t get snapped up incredibly quickly to fill up the stadium to galvanise the fan base in getting behind the club in the run-in (alongside improving the reputation of messers Bruce and Charnley with the fans to boot).
That chuckle began to fade after that further thought, and this morning it totally stopped. Sunderland AFC announced that it will be charging us £195 for the same privilege – albeit to watch 11 games against the likes of Lincoln City, Rochdale and Accrington Stanley at the SoL in the 3rd tier of English football.
Given the temperature amongst the fan base towards players, staff and owners – I have to totally question the logic and timing behind pushing this message out to the fanbase.
Hear me out here, I can understand the obvious commercial aspect around charging for the half season ticket – but in reality – how many are the club actually going to sell by charging £195, given how abysmal the performances have been on the pitch? Also, from a timing perspective, releasing this specific information the day after universally hated (except SAFC fans) Mike Ashley agrees to give away 10,000 tickets to our most fierce rivals seems insane.
The one thing I give the current board credit for is creating ‘gimmicks’ to paper of the cracks of what is happening on the pitch. They have royally failed here. This screams to me of another example of a total lack of leadership and common sense at the football club. Who is actually running the club day-to-day and making sensible commercial decisions?
Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Matt, I’m really not sure what’s going on behind the scenes at the club, but it certainly doesn’t look great at the moment, does it. Our Managing Editor, Gav, penned a piece this week on your final point, and I think you’re both right: Sunderland need strong leadership from within right now, unfortunately it feels as though it’s sorely lacking.
Dear Roker Report,
I feel like our away support just get taken for granted. its frustrating and i feel like not going to away games. but the problem is that i dont go for the football if i did then i would have stopped going years ago, its the day out, and yeh i am blind but even i cant see anything changing any time soon. 2 trips to Gillingham for performances that were just that bad words couldn’t even describe them nevermind pictures. jack ross was badly done to by the fans, but what is sunderlands loss is hibernians gain. hibernian are my other team so when Jack Ross was appointed at Hibs i was truly delighted.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Carl, I honestly think that Sunderland fans are brilliant. Really impressive home attendances during a woeful season thus far, raising over £18,000 for local charities, traipsing up and down the country following the Lads, and putting money into the club’s coffers - all amazing feats. People might argue that we’re impatient and somewhat finicky at times, but we have high expectations and standards, that’s not a bad thing!