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Fan Letters: “What’s needed at Sunderland is a Director of football, someone like Sam Allardyce”

In today’s Fan Letters our readers are discussing the need for grit and tenacity in the squad, the loyalty of the fans and the need for a Director of Football - with Sam Allardyce mentioned as a potential choice. What do you think? Email us:!

Hartlepool United v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am drawn into a full disagreement with you on certain matters from your forum.

Firstly, you have said that the days of Reidy are well over, and the running on sand dunes etc won’t be tolerated by players these days. You see, this is what is wrong. Players should not have the choice of whether certain aspects of training are tolerated or not. We are Sunderland, and all our relative successes have been through teams with graft and steel, not tippy-tappy football. Those are the type of teams we love to frighten to death. If you are on the side of footballers having more say in how they see themselves treated, then it is surely time to stop watching a team like Sunderland, because we need the up-and-at-them attitude up here. We need the old Don Hutchinson style. Don’t tell me there aren’t players out there who cannot mix that style with the ballet dancers of today, because that is just not true. Look in the Premier League. The only times the likes of Liverpool and Man City get turned over, are from teams who get torn into them, and that kind of football demands a certain type of training to go with it. If we are now expecting the SAFC players to be a certain ilk, to fit in with this mad world we now live in, then we will be stuck permanently in this division.

I also have to say I was a bit perturbed that you pulled up a forum writer because he said Phil Pratkinson. For God’s sake. Get a grip. Believe me, that is nothing compared to what he gets called on the terraces. This is what is wrong with the game. I am all for cancelling out vile innuendoes, but Phil Pratkinson?? Come on!


Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Hughie, I just wanted to note that the site has pretty large pool of writers who produce articles for the site. All are Sunderland fans with an independent opinion. As such, I personally agree with some of your thoughts on what generally makes Sunderland sides successful whereas others would disagree - that’s what makes the site such a great melting pot of ideas and discussion. “Graft and steel” are certainly traits we need right now, and I do think a lot of that comes from a lack of stern leadership both in the dugout and also on the pitch. Re: your last point, I know I’d personally like to see constructive criticism rather than petulant name-calling; again though, just my opinion.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet Championship -Stadium of Light Photo by Dave Howarth/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

This is Adarsh again from India.

I’m just speechless reading through the online pages and blogs about the plight our great club finds ourselves in. Is there anything we can do about it, answer is I don’t know. The fans are still supporting the team in numbers both home and away, thus you can’t fault their criticism. All I know is that we should hold together thick and thin, an advice my Safc friend from China, Chloe pointed out to me when we discussed about the same.

Nothing but hoping things turn good.

I’ve decided to buy my first Safc Jersey next month to show my support to the club in hard times.

Sunderland till I die.


Ed’s Note [Tom]: Great to hear from you Adarsh, hope you are well. We are really struggling right now, and as you noted the fans are reacting with the only means they have: their voices. We are all hoping things turn around, but the club have difficult decisions to make in the coming weeks. Looking forward to you sending in a photo with your Sunderland top on in the next fan letter.

Almost derelict Stadium of Light. Photo by Dave Howarth/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

What is needed at Sunderland is a Director of football, someone like Sam Allardyce who can appoint a manager who will have the skills to get the best out of the players, as for this team of players they are for the most league one/two career footballers who don’t have the skills to play in the Champions and know that if promotion was achieved there contracts would not be renewed so why would they work hard and knock themselves out when the reward is the sack, what is needed are good championship players with a group of youngsters from the academy and with the contacts of Mr Methven and the new Scouting teams been setup by the investment company I see no reason why we can’t be successful.

William Wynd

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi William, this is actually a topic I’ve penned three pieces on for the site, and I couldn’t agree with you any more re: hiring a progressive Director of Football with a good knowledge of the lower leagues and also aspirations for long-term success. I think this is definitely something the club have to look into as soon as possible as it looks as though we lack direction and strategy at present.

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