Dear Roker Report,
I haven’t checked but finishing 3/4/5 in the 3rd tier of English Football must be the lowest the club has ever finished?
I’m 36 and old enough to remember the ‘bad old days’ when we went down to the old 3rd division then totally smashed it and went straight back up.
I don’t care what propaganda SAFC, Stuart Donald or yourselves spread. This season has been a total failure, with very few actual highlights (games themselves, not our amazing fans).
The football and general tactics has been dreadful all season, Saturday was just another classic example or maybe it was Burton the other week or the countless other draws when we should be winning and going for it.
We have to remember we are Sunderland, the biggest (by a long way) club in this division, with the biggest squad and the biggest budget. We deserve better than this and there’s nothing wrong with critiquing Stuart Donald, Jack Ross or several of the other bottlers who deserve to be playing in league 1.
I really hope I’m wrong, and I’ll happily eat my words, but we can’t win a must win game and another season or 2 in league 1 beckons for SAFC.
Keep the faith.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I agree - we do deserve better than this. The fact that this club plays in the third tier is a black mark in the history books and we all set out with the aim that the club needs to be promoted at the first time of asking. If we aren’t, then quite rightly there’ll be questions asked as the inquest begins.
I’ll hold off passing judgement until it’s too late because I think that’s a sensible course of action to take, though I will note that a bug bear of mine has been the quality of our recruitment in both windows. We’ve spent relatively big and we’ve recruited a lot of players, but ultimately we failed to address the lack of height, pace and physicality right throughout the squad and that has been a big reason why we’ve struggled to turn draws into wins.
That said, the size of your club and the amount of money you spend means very little, let’s be honest. We spent beyond our means for years in the Premier League and it didn’t equate to success - it just led to us dropping rapidly down the pyramid.
There have been some huge mistakes made this season - and results like the one last night do nothing for the confidence of the supporters - but as I write this I have absolutely no idea whether they’ll be a deciding factor in what league we play our football in next season. If we have to go up via the play-offs then so be it - and if we don’t then, well, we don’t. We’ll lick our wounds and deal with it.
I think the club have made progress off the pitch over the last twelve months and that was drummed home yet again earlier this week when the latest set of club accounts were published (up to 31st July 2018) detailing the mess that the club was in around the time that the new owners took over. In regards to on the pitch, I’ve enjoyed going to games this season in the main - it’s a nice feeling going into almost every match knowing we have a chance of winning and has in a lot of ways reminded me of why I fell in love with Sunderland as a bairn, watching us in the lower leagues with players you can relate to.
Aye, the standard of the football isn’t great, the referees are dreadful and the time-wasting tactics of practically every other team have been frustrating, but all in all it’s been canny.
The sheer amount of change that has gone on here at Sunderland has been astronomical, and as such it may well be that we just aren’t ready to go up. It happens. If we don’t I’ll be gutted but I won’t start panicking.
Dear Roker Report,
I totally agree with Michael (Fan Letters, 29/04) that we’ve had a fabulous season.
Sunderland is not the best team in League One but we’re not far away. Jack Ross needs time to get his team together - remember we didn’t have a team at the start of training last summer.
If Jack can keep the best players from this group and add in the summer we’ll be a better team next season whether that’s where we are or in the Championship.
I for one am excited about the playoffs and looking forward to next season.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Again, I totally understand why people are feeling angry that we didn’t just walk away with the league title but I also think we have to weigh everything up. I think recruitment in both windows wasn’t good enough and we’ve lacked the physicality and athleticism which you need to win your battles against some of these teams who aren’t the most technical but are clever and know how to slow you down.
We’re not wily enough at times and losing last night is evidence of that.