Dear Roker Report,
I feel compelled to write about some of the recent articles on negativity amongst the fans.
I can understand why some fans are tempted to be negative because when you’ve had it as bad as we have, for as long as we have, it’s often difficult to believe that something good might happen to us.
There were times over the last couple of seasons when repeated relegations and bankruptcy seemed the only two things in our future so obviously it’s hard to believe that things can get better. We all love our club too and because we love it so much, we always want the team to win and win convincingly.
Sure, I have my gripes like anyone else but you need to also have balance. Ross can frustrate me by sticking with a system that most of us seem to agree just isn’t working.
I’m at a loss to explain why he’s the only person who apparently doesn’t see this but he’s still the best manager we’ve had in a very long time. I find some of Ross’ team selections to be baffling and yes, he’s cost us games, but I still think he’s probably the most tactically aware manager we’ve had in a long time. Some of his signings won’t work out but that’s true of every manager and I think that overall he’s had more successes than failures.
I think it was utterly ridiculous for Donald to pay such a ludicrous sum for Grigg but I’d rather have him running the club than any other owner I can think of.
Would anyone rather have the porker up the road or another Texan billionaire? I’m damn sure I wouldn’t! Donald is the best thing that could have happened to this club and I love the fact that he’s working so hard to make it a community club again.
I feel part of my club again and I’m proud to wear the club’s colours again, even 8,000 miles away in the Falkland Islands. It’s Donald who has done that and I am eternally grateful to him for giving me my club back.
The point is that it’s never going to be perfect but that’s football and part of its joy. I can witter on all day long about better systems we can play and better team selections etc. and I’ll almost certainly be the best manager Sunderland never have but I suspect they’re going to stick with Ross instead of offering me the job for a reason.
The only thing that should be heard in the Stadium of Light is 40,000 passionate Sunderland fans cheering their team on for every second of the game, regardless of the score.
The only thing we’ll achieve if we start hurling abuse at the team and the manager is that we’ll knock their confidence and the team won’t perform. I don’t think anything would have prevented our relegation over the last couple of seasons but if we’re honest with ourselves, the atmosphere at the Stadium of Light didn’t help matters.
We can change that this season because with a new and young squad, we really can be the extra man. Our vocal support can help us get promoted but the lack of that support can just as easily hold us back in League One.
I’ll be briefly returning to the UK in December and I’ll be there for every match I can until I have to return to the Falklands. When I’m at the stadium, I want to hear that old Roker Roar so loud that they’ll hear us in St James’ Park!
Ha’way the Lads!
Ed’s Note [Gav]: You’re writing in from the Falklands? That’s class. This week we’ve had submissions now from the Falkland Islands, Sweden, Canada and India - I don’t think people really understand just how far and wide our supporters land!
On to your point. I think you’re bang on Andrew, and the sooner we all get on the same page about where this side and club are right now, the better things will eventually be. We’re getting there, but we have to keep plugging away.
In Charlie Methven’s interview this week with Salut Sunderland he AGAIN reminded fans about the position from which they inherited the club, and he did the same in the match programme before the AFC Wimbledon game.
This is a fact - WE ALMOST WENT BUST BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT UNDER THE PREVIOUS REGIME. This point must be reiterated every single time you see someone complain about not spending our way out of trouble. We have to do things properly now, or else we risk plunging this club into a position from which we may never come back from.
Now, until all supporters are mindful of this and recognise that for Sunderland to be successful whist also being ran properly, the fans have a huge part to play. Remind people of our role as supporters of this club. Recognise when players need our help, get behind them. Make the Stadium of Light somewhere that away teams genuinely fear visiting. Show off our proud, colourful heritage by making our home, our home.
It’s a process and it will take time, but I’m sure that we’ll get there - for the good of this club.
Dear Roker Report,
The majority of Sunderland fans are supportive of the club’s owners, coaches and players; however, sports fans the world-over have a desire to be more.
We could all score from every ball played into the opposing penalty area. We could all save that shot that curled into the top corner. We would all to a man do a better job than the manager.
Down the pub or in the lunch-room we used to be able to air our opinions and debate with friends or workmates. Today the situation has shifted with the advent of Social Media. An opinion that may be no more than the desire to be part of a discussion becomes almost a personal insult against the club’s owners, coaches and players.
The written word often falls short of expressing the true feelings of the writer. I watched the game against AFC Wimbledon and it was my opinion that the team underperformed.
My opinion was subjected to cries from “negativity” to an invitation to go follow the “scum up the road”. I expressed a concern regarding the number of draws the team have accumulated thus far and from the responses I wondered when I had called for Jack Ross’s firing or spoken ill of the owners.
When it comes to postings on Social Media participants need to learn to accept that criticism isn’t necessarily negative. It’s a personal opinion usually expressed out of frustration.
We, and I include myself, often jump in to defend against a perceived opposing view when a second calmer read shows the comment is no more than another point of view.
Ron Whan (Alberta, Canada)
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Social media is such a basket case, and whilst there are some really good people out there interested in engaging in debate, others can take it too far. There’s nothing to stop that unfortunately.
I think your concerns are valid - we’re playing poorly and not scoring enough goals. Hopefully, now that he’s had a full week to work with his new players and a fully fit squad, Jack Ross will pick a team at the weekend geared to overwhelm Oxford.
The club have done their bit - the signings he wanted, and more, were made. He’s got the biggest, most talented squad that League One has ever seen - now it’s down to Jack Ross, his coaching staff and the players to get this club out of the third tier.
If we have to play a certain way to grind out results along the way then I’m sure we’ll do it, but some supporters are understandably annoyed by the fact we haven’t really played anyone off the park this season. I say let’s wait and see how we do from this mini-run of games we have coming up. We’ve got five games in two weeks and it’s a chance to put a good run of form together - imagine that?
I have faith!