Dear Roker Report,
I’m slowly getting my mojo back.
We were watching EFL Quest on the telly on Saturday night against Plymouth Argyle, and I pointed myself out on the telly when Cattermole scored the goal.
My daughter remarked, “dad you haven’t celebrated the goal very much, that’s not like you”. So I attempted to tell her what it has been like supporting the Red & Whites these past few seasons.
I told her about the old, familiar chant of the away supporters, “is this a library”, and that they were right, but they have not had to watch the dross that I have had to put up with these past seasons, I feel as though I have slowly had the life blood sucked out of me supporting my team.
In fact it was getting so bad that after about 10 past 3 on the Saturday game I have been thinking about what sort of topping to have on my cheese burger after the game simply because there was nothing to get excited about on the pitch, but when Cattermole scored the goal you could see the fear in the eyes of the Argyle supporters thinking “bloody hell, what a noise”, and then it was back to the library until Honeyman made it safe.
At times this season its been painful watching them play, but sitting there on the sofa looking at myself on the telly with my arms raised to the heavens I thought “yes son you are slowly getting your Mojo back”.
Long may it continue.
Anthony Lynn (50 years a Red n White)
Ed’s Note [JN]: Must admit, I’ve had mine back all season. I’ve absolutely loved League One. From watching the Lads genuinely enjoying and thriving playing football in a Sunlun shirt (for the first time in years) to travelling around some absolute footballing backwaters from Burslem to Bristol and back again.
Drinking in the local area has been great, and the fans are refreshingly honest and “real” - as horrendous as a cliché that is - be it chatting in pubs or getting absolutely peltered by Luton fans angrily lining back lanes.
We’re a mile away from the over-sanitised, TV controlled and megalithic powers of the Premier League, and aside from the financial hit on the club from a genuine fans-only perspective I’d happily stay in the league for a few years.
I’d never lost my love for Sunderland, but my love for the game has been rekindled. Although the EFL is desperate to be a Premier League-lite and bow to the whims of TV companies just as much, there is an inherent nostalgic feeling being at these grounds, watching academy lads who love the club scoring over 50% of your sides goals, leading your team out.
It may be rose-tinted glasses, but it’s taken me back to when I first walked through that turnstile, and Premier League football will never regain that feeling.
Dear Roker Report,
What an achievement it has been to reach the Checkatrade Trophy Final.
Whatever the status of the competition, a day out at Wembley in a final is nothing more than the fans who have stayed loyal this season deserve. However, the final is to be played on the 31st March, two days before our crucial game in hand at Accrington (2nd April).
With little chance of a second rearrangement, how can Jack Ross manage his squad accordingly? As much as I would love to see a win at Wembley, promotion from League One MUST and IS the only priority.
Hopefully Ross would be forgiven for playing a “weakened” team in the final?
Ed’s Note [JN]: The competition in its old format was great. It truly gave fans of clubs who are never really gonna hit the big time, stuck in the doldrums of constant mediocrity and irrelevance a chance to dream. It still does that, and luckily no U21 side has reached the final as yet.
Are fans of other club’s right to boycott? Of course, that is their prerogative. Is it a bit tin-pot? Yes. But am I looking forward to it? Abso-f**king-lutely.
I cannot wait. This is our day out after suffering two years of indignation and watching our team win at home just over 100 times in 11 years. Do we deserve it more than anyone else? No. But f*ck them, we’re Sunderland and we are going to Wembley.
Accrington has now been shifted to the 3rd April, and Burton has been moved to the 9th. The game before, Fleetwood may also get moved due to players involved on international duty, but that is unconfirmed as yet.
The fixtures are starting to pile up, but I absolutely would not field a weakened team, and neither will Ross. His two changes on Tuesday were absolutely enforced upon him by minor injuries. It is a little harsh on those who served well up until now, but we need this. The fanbase needs this as a pinnacle to come together and get some real momentum going into the “business end” of the season.
Furthermore, if Fleetwood is shifted (Geads and Dunne have already been called up, with possibly Grigg, Flanno, big Jon and Bali also in and around international squads) and we get the three players called-up, it will at least give most of the squad a break.