Dear Roker Report,
Let’s rewind about 18 months. I sent one of these letters to yourselves criticising and questioning the SD/CM/JS takeover, finances, direction etc. At that time I was against the new regime as there was something not quite right.
However. I am now backing Stewart Donald, and here is why.
I have my own business in a sector where there’s a lot of competition, and I run it on an advertising basis purely through Facebook. I run it slightly differently to others to make it unique and it is one of the most successful shops because of this method. But because of how I run it so publicly every decision I make is questioned by some idiot that suddenly thinks they can run a business.
This is the trap that Stewart Donald has unfortunately fallen into on a much bigger scale, and the reason he’s cut us off as fans is cos he’s sick of being hounded about the same trivial sh*t every day. The poor bloke’s going through some personal stuff and you’ve got the average Dave from Hendon aggressively hounding him on Twitter about a fly in his pint in the fanzone last match.
I believe he cares, I believe he wants to do good at Sunderland, I believe he wants to be lauded as a hero and saviour of our beautiful club and I’m not naive so I also believe that he wants to fatten his pockets - and if he gets it right, why shouldn’t he? But I now believe that we’ve hounded him so much that he’s lost his spark for us and with the decision you lot made on Friday to call for his head, he’ll now possibly never get that back.
Now let’s look at his mistakes. The Maja saga. Yes it f***ked our promotion up. But that’s with hindsight. Who’s to say he wouldn’t have got injured and who was to know that Will Grigg - one of league One’s top scorers in the last decade - would have been such a dud?
In august before a ball was kicked last year if we were given a vote Maja or Grigg to lead us to promotion before we knew what it’d be like Grigg would have won that vote 85-15%.
The FPP loan. The only mistake was the public nature of it. Ellis short ran this club into £150m of debt where the interest payments alone were 8mil a year. So what if they need a bit of assistance to run the club, and who are we to question it in such scrutiny? And if they default, FPP take over which is what everyone was dancing about in august.
The sacking of jack Ross. Not a mistake and fully justifiable. Football was terrible and promotion was on a plate in March last year only for him to royally f*** it up and carry that on to this season.
The appointment of PP. In my eyes besides being so public this is the only huge error he has made. When somebody comes in who nobody wants to start with he is truly p**sing against the wind but the situation he is in is again one of the fans doing. The fans want PP sacked (and rightly so) but them same fans call for stability as sacking managers is what got us into this mess. So what does he do. Does he give him a transfer window or does he get someone else 2 days before who has no targets all the scouting work of the last 2 month gets ripped up and we end up with deadline day duds
Every decision he makes because of the public nature in which he has put himself across is scrutinised and because if this he is now truly is between a rock and a hard place.
One thing to sign off this letter is if Donald had not have come in when he did we could well have been playing league Two football of suffered the same fate as bury. He turned around a sinking ship and steadied it. Yes we’ve hit a few rocks along the way and a bit of damage control may need to be done but because of him we will have a club...100’s of tough decisions had to be made and not all of them he’ll get right
If you read this Stewart there is some of us who still believe in you but you must get that spark back. To start the healing process Parkinson must go immediately.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: To address your first point - I don’t believe that personal feelings towards Stewart should come into it, really. I think he’s a nice enough bloke but all I care about is my club, and if I feel he’s the wrong fit then I reserve the right to say something has to change, just as you do with your own opinion on it. That’s what’s great about football - it’s all about opinions, and we must respect those held by other people even if we don’t agree.
I believe Stewart lost his spark long before all of this and it’d just be a convenient excuse to pin this on supporters who are rightly questioning the way the club is being run and the way that it’s heading. That will of course be the narrative if he does indeed depart - that the fans spoiled it for him, because it’s easier to say that than to admit you just weren’t up to it.
Re: your point on Maja and Grigg - all we can do is talk about what actually happened, rather than “well Maja might have got injured”. Fact is, he didn’t. Maja was banging them in for fun and the signing of Grigg was short-sighted, because for all his record is great I have to wonder whether anyone actually bothered to wonder why he wasn’t getting a game for Wigan, or whether he was prepared to move his family north (I don’t believe that he has, and that he commutes to Sunderland from the north west which cannot be easy).
Has he got the character to play for Sunderland? Is he able to play in the same sort of way that Maja was, linking up play and timing his runs to perfection? I think the last year has taught us that he hasn’t, and with proper recruitment this is something that might have been identified. Point is, we just slung money at signing someone cos they scored loads of goals once. That’s bad, short-sighted recruitment.
Regarding your comment: “So what if they need a bit of assistance to run the club, and who are we to question it in such scrutiny?” — we are the supporters of this club, ‘the owners’ are merely custodians. We’ll be here long after they leave, so ensuring that scrutiny occurs is absolutely vital to the future path of our football club. You mention Bury - well, I bet Bury fans wish that they’d held their owners to account before they royally done their club over and left them in the dirt. Read this if you don’t believe me!
The overriding feeling I get from reading your letter is that you believe the fans are holding the club back. If I’m wrong, feel free to write back to me and put me straight. If that is indeed how you feel then I think you are wrong, but you are of course entitled to your opinion. I believe that the fans holding the club’s owners to account is what will eventually set us back on a path towards where we belong, and I’m confident that we’ll get there eventually under a different owner who will run the club properly.
If you disagree - that’s fine! I enjoyed writing back to you regardless.
Dear Roker Report,
The standards at the club seems to be going down hill.
Look at the Boxing Day shambles. Look at the concourses. Not cleaned.
Seat rows not cleaned. Look at the state of the toilets - no hot water to wash your hands, and the hand-driers have been out of action for most of the season.
I think the list could go on and on.
Hopefully some positive action will be taken as soon as possible
Ed’s Note [Gav]: If that is the case then it’s a shame that the ground is being neglected to the point that we can’t even get hot running water in some of the communal toilets. There were photos going around the other week from someone at a Christmas do, who was given a tour of the stadium during his visit, and the tunnel area and pitch was just covered with litter. It might seem like such a small thing, but it’s still sad to see that there’s so little care.