Dear Roker Report,
I’m writing in just to express my dismay at the treatment some sections of our support give our captain. Some of the abuse that George Honeyman receives is abysmal.
I’m not his biggest fan but some of the comments I read on social media after the Wycombe game were embarrassing. I was embarrassed to be associated with my fellow fans who were happy with the fact our captain (a lad who has been at Sunderland since he was ten) was potentially going to lose his chance to lead the side out at Wembley.
I remember a regular comment from last season: “We only demand players that give 110%”. Really? Looking at Twitter after games you’d be forgiven for thinking that is an absolute load of tosh. It’s clear that, with some people, having players that care about the club that would run through brick walls - on good and bad days - is secondary to ability.
The more he plays the worse it gets. I’ll never wrap my head around it.
Yours in disgust,
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I couldn’t agree more Andrew. Like you, I’m not Honeyman’s biggest fan, but I like to think I view Sunderland and our players impartially. As such, I can come to a number of simple conclusions - that Honeyman is not our best player, but certainly isn’t our worst. Some of the abuse you see levelled at him (and then at people who challenge some of the awful comments about a player who genuinely doesn’t deserve it) is horrendous and, as you say, worrying. Here’s a Lad who bleeds Sunderland, has only ever known Sunderland and wears that armband with pride. He’s by every definition ‘one of our own’.
Jack Ross has often spoken about Honeyman’s work ethic and desire not just in games, but on the training pitch. Whether he’s the best player in the squad or not, he gives a sh*t about Sunderland and that counts for a lot in my book - especially having suffered from the last 5 years or so as a supporter who has watched a series of players come to this club and take the p*ss out of it.
My personal message to the people who can’t see any good in Honeyman is to start from scratch, and ask yourselves again what you expect from a Sunderland player.
He IS NOT our best player and I don’t think you’ll ever hear someone claim that to be the case - he’s not even in the top five - but even the most blinkered of our support can surely see that he plays an important role in this side.
Jack Ross wouldn’t have made him captain if he didn’t rate him as an influencer, as someone you want around the place holding together the squad. On the pitch I think he’s actually underrated and we often miss his presence in the side when he’s not there - you could say that last night, and that run of games where he was missing through injury, back that up.
Again, I must stress, I’m not overhyping his ability one bit because that’d be too far, but I can still recognise what he DOES offer us and why that’s just as important as having someone like Luke O’Nien running through brick walls, or Aiden McGeady skinning full-backs with regularity.
All successful teams are greater than the sum of their parts, and I think that’s very much where we need to judge Honeyman and his worth to the side. He’s not a tenacious tackler, he’s not a set-piece maestro, he’s not a regular match-winner - but what he is is a dependable presence, a hard-worker and great asset to those around him on the field.
If that’s not enough, at a time when we’re just starting to fall back in love with this club, then I’m not sure that some supporters will ever be satisfied with what they’re seeing on the pitch.
Dear Roker Report,
Will the walkout music be changing next season? If it is, it’d be great if they played Shut ‘Em Up by The Prodigy. I created the mash up for The Prodigy (I have included a link to the news article, NME article, my mash up and their official version).
I think if it stays with the current theme of using The Prodigy for the walkout music it will then have a connection to Sunderland as well because some local created it. The chorus also chants “shut ‘em down” (the name of the track is also a mash up of the songs used which are Stand up and Shut ‘em Down.
I signed the rights to The Prodigy so it is now on the expanded version of their album, The Day is my Enemy. It has also been used as a walkout song for a major league baseball team in the USA.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I like it! That said, I also really like Invaders Must Die. It’s just a shame that the SOL PA system is out of the ark, because the current set up doesn’t really do it justice.
I know the ‘Against Modern Football’ types hate it, but I’d love to see Sunderland fit a system that sees both the lighting and the music work in conjunction. It’s done brilliantly at Celtic and Wolves, and to a lesser extent at the Riverside Stadium just down the A19.
Charlie Methven has spoken about the need for the music to help build to an atmosphere, and I actually like the choice of music the new regime brought in. It’s far better than Dance of the Knights in my opinion, but it just feels as though it’s lacking slightly due to the technology we use. Hopefully, if we get promoted, there’s a few quid spare to make some improvements in the summer.