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Fan Letters: “Sunderland don’t need a Director of Football - they need stability!”

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“If we’re going to go down the D.o.F. route then we do not need a manager. The Director of Football recruits according to club style and the coaching staff coach to it. Simple (and cheaper)!” says RR reader Fred. Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk!

Oxford United v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup Round of 16 Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

There has been a lot of discussion regarding whether or not SAFC need a Director of Football. Well, here is my take on the subject.

In the Sunderland Echo of 30th November, the two chief football ‘writers’ (Echo’s description not mine) discussed the appointment of a Director of Football (here we go again!). Mark Donnelly, in particular, reckoned that appointing such a man would bring to an end the changes in playing personnel as the new manager stamped his influence and ideas on the team as Mr Donnelly put it the new fella would be, and I quote, “someones who role (and you may well wonder why I don’t rate these ‘writers’) was solely focussed on establishing a consistent style of play...” All well and good, up until now the new manager has told the D.o.F., when we’ve had one, what style he wants to play and the D.o.F. has gone out and recruited (third or fourth choices, depending on cost, but recruit to the manager’s style he has). So, what happens if SAFC decide that they want to play, say, the passing game, in the style of the greats from days gone by. They then have to recruit a manager who is prepared or able to coach in that style. And if they can’t recruit such a man? What then? Then of course they have to recruit the playing personnel for that style. And if they can’t get such players to come, ‘Oh, never mind chaps, just hoof it up the pitch instead, and hope for the best.’

And if those personnel that the D.o.F manages to recruit have had a falling out with the manager in the past e.g. McLaughlin and Parkinson? Parkinson only plays Mac if he really has to and Burge isn’t exactly setting the pitch alight in his abscence (back to 17/16 we go). PLUS the Club would need to appoint the right man as D.o.F (and at the moment we can’t even recruit the right manager!). Mr Bain, are you free? Or perhaps we’d prefer to appoint another Roberto de Fanti? I agree that all these comings and goings have to end (and that applies to the coaching staff too), but there’s a heck of a lot to think about before going down that particular route again.

Rather, than recruiting managers and (his) coaching staff to suit our unique style why not just have a prolonged period of stability in the coaching staff so that the manager really can stamp his style on the team? The Salut-Sunderland series “Thirteen years, thirteen managers” says it all. Parky has been given a two-and-a-half-year contract. We may not like the direction in which the team is headed at the moment but I really think that he ought to be given time to get it right and FTM (when have we ever cared what they say anyway?). Maybe (perish the thought) we end up where we don’t want to be but we’ll at least be laying the foundations for the future (hopefully, but isn’t that what this was supposed to do?). It doesn’t help (after all; We are Sunderland) but there are greater Clubs than ours have fallen further.

I agree that questions need asking but the question being asked right now ought to be “what went wrong after the thumping of Tranmere?”

If we’re going to go down the D.o.F. route then we do not need a manager. The Director of Football recruits according to Club style and the coaching staff coach to it. Simple (and cheaper)!

Fred Browne

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I wholeheartedly disagree with most of that, though do think that you are right when you say that lots of thought has to go into identifying the ‘right’ person as a Director of Football. It’s my belief that we do need one.

Every top club in europe and most of the clubs in the EFL have them - Sunderland aren’t too big or too small to work under the same model. I think there’s a lack of management and leadership from a footballing perspective that a club’s owner simply cannot offer. Everyone needs direction, and every club needs a philosophy that it works to.

If Sunderland can find someone that will help offer this club leadership then it will undoubtedly benefit our aims and progression on and off the pitch.

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 a Christmas message to especially the players but also to everyone connected with Sunderland AFC. Sometimes bad things happen but we have to block out the bad things in our minds and embrace the joy that Sunderland are the best football club in the world.

Sunderland are certainly the biggest club in League One and bigger than anyone in the championship and half the premier league. So we need to go out on a match day and show that Sunderland are the best. Everyone has a duty to themselves, family, friends and supporters to be the best they can be.

Finally a Christmas message to everyone, even Newcastle fans.

Love is the meaning of life, so look after each other and the planet.

Merry Christmas.

David Paterson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Hear, hear! And if anyone is feeling particularly charitable this festive season, why not donate to our fundraiser? We’re aiming to raise as much as we possibly can for two fantastic causes - the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, and Sunderland Foodbank. As I write this we’ve just beaten our £10,000 target inside three days - unreal. But, we want to keep going. If anyone can offer any donation, large or small, it’s very welcome. Please click here and give what you can.