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Fan Letters: “Sunderland only need a right back and a central defender, otherwise I’m happy!”

RR reader Thomas Mitchell thinks Sunderland’s squad needs far less change than most people believe, and he’d be happy with signing a new right back and a new central defender. What do you think? Email: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk!

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’ve been going to games for over 40 years now - so like everyone else, I’ve seen the ups and plenty of downs. I think Jack Ross absolutely is the manager we need and he should definitely be staying, hopefully for the very long term.

Jack inherited a club in flux and a squad that was ragged at best. He had to contend with sulky “superstars” who thought League One was beneath them and who we couldn’t indulge at this level anyway. He dealt capably too with a couple of them who refused even to return. He also had to deal with the uncertainty of knowing whether McGeady, Oviedo and Cattermole would be available to him while trying to mould his squad. It then became clear that the fixture pile-up was likely to undermine his efforts to get the club promoted at the first attempt. He can hardly be held responsible for that.

He bought a good, solid goalkeeper in as well as Maguire and Grant Leadbitter.

Personally, I don’t understand the negativity surrounding his choice of George Honeyman as captain. He has had to deal with the loss of Maja - who neither he or Stewart Donald could have kept once he or his agent decided he was off - and has been unlucky in that the three strikers we might have expected to score the goals that would have secured automatic promotion have struggled for fitness. I would agree that it would have been good to see more of Sterling, but I’ve not seen him close up in training.

I think Jack Ross knows that defence has been a weakness. I expected - as I’m sure most did - that Loovens would be a real asset. Maybe they should have looked again in January but was anyone better than Flanagan or Baldwin actually available? Who knows?

Jack Ross will be a better manager for the experience next season. He has made mistakes (we all do), but he has also done an awful lot of very good things. He’s strides ahead of some of the managers I can remember at Roker Park and the Stadium of Light! I expect him to get the club promoted automatically this time next year.

Robert Crosby

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I guess that I can see both sides of the argument with regards to Ross. Ultimately - and it’s weak reasoning but I stand by it - I don’t want to see ANOTHER managerial change and even more upheaval. I want to see us back a manager longer than we generally would so he can have enough time to get his ideas across fully.

But, if ten games into the season we’re not meeting expectation, I imagine my stance would change. Ross knows he’s got to nail it this summer and I have faith that he will.

Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

So... we lost again and this one hurt. After 50 years of watching Sunderland this one hurt most, for loads of reasons. We live in Nottingham, so every game is an away game, even the SOL is a 300 mile round trip.

This season we’ve seen over 40 games, we’ve spent a fortune, almost killed two cars and got roped in to taking matchday snaps for ALS. We have also started the East Midlands Supporters Branch. It’s been eventful.

We’ll do it all again next season.

Why?

Because We are Sunderland SUPPORTERS.

Personally, I’m not a fan and I’m not a customer. I have no contract with the club that says if we lose at Wembley again I walk away, or if we play crap against Coventry I’m done with it all. I won’t boo our players, no matter how bad, I won’t leave a game early despite the three hour journey home. I know Sarah feels the same.

We have an irrational emotional bond that says no matter how bad it gets. We’ll be back giving our support... and God Monday felt bad.

The current team has finished in the lowest position we’ve ever achieved but they aren’t the worst ever Sunderland team. We’ve had worse, they just have been in a division higher and jumped ship before they had to play third tier and prove how bad they were.

Flanagan, Baldwin, Wyke, Grigg, Honeyman, Gooch have all had crap thrown at them this season but every game I’ve seen this season these guys have given what they have got... and I have supported them, I’ve wanted more, I’ve wished they were better at times and by God all of them and others have driven me mad but I keep turning up and hoping. We keep giving them our support because they need it now more than ever.

The reason is that when Maguire, McGeedy or anyone lashes one in or Catts scores a header from a corner the high is unbelievable, it’s like a drug. I can’t believe how my week is transformed by an away win at Rochdale, a last minute equaliser at Walsall or scrambled 0-0 at Pompey to go get us back to Wembley... but it is.

Sarah and I have had some unbelievable times watching SAFC and some of this year’s highlights are up there with the best.

Will we back next season... yes.

Will we expect us to run away with Div 3... no, but we’ll hope.

Will we be praying for another trip to Wembley? NO!

Will we be supporting... yes, most definitely yes.

We have met so many others that feel the same.

So, Stewie D, Champagne Charlie and the rest, do your bit, back Jack Ross again and let’s see where we get to next season (please not bloody Wembley!)

Whanie

Ed’s Note [Gav]: No matter how much it hurts, we always go back for more. Like you I’m addicted and can’t help it - I wouldn’t change my support for the world.

PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Really fed up with negativity of some of our supporters after play off final and before.

As a 69 year old maybe I’ve mellowed a lot over the years but I think it’s about time they chilled out a bit and relaxed. We have a promising young manager who has worked miracles given the atrocious situation we were in when he came and owners who really love the club.

It’s a long time since I’ve looked forward to coming to every home game of a season, fair enough mistakes have been made but I think we’re finally climbing out of the sh*te.

And if my memory serves me right (I’m getting on a bit) Roker Park wasn’t always buzzing, far from it in fact. Onwards and Upwards.

K Shepherd

Ed’s Note [Gav]: The time off will do people good and will give them a chance to reflect. Since Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven appeared on our Podcast I think people have been able to take stock and work things through properly. They confirmed the manager is staying, so whether we like it or not that is happening and we have to back him in the hope he’ll get it right over the summer.

PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m a young(ish) supporter of our club (22 years old) so I can’t say much that’s happened in our past like the last time we was in the third tier of English Football.

I don’t get to many games - not because I don’t want to, but because I live in Doncaster. It’s not really walking distance to the stadium is it? I wish I could afford to go to every game but its not cheap for me.

With what’s happened this season it’s not made me stop loving the club - if anything it’s made me love the club that much more.

The Jack Ross Out Brigade must think we can get a world class manager - a Pep, Klopp etc. For his first ever season in English football he has done quite well. Yes, it’s not what we as fans wanted but when did we as fans ever get what we wanted?

If we did we wouldn’t have had the fall down to the EFL League One.

When Jack was appointed manager I was a bit weary - I mean, Scottish Football is really poor compared to the English football. He came when we had very few first team players, and Jack bought players for the league - Maguire, Wyke, Power, O’Nien etc.

Yes, a few were flops *coughs Loovens* but the ones I named are just a few that showed heart for the club.

A few things I would change - get an actual right back and play O’Nien in central midfield, get a new centre back too, and that’s really about it.

We have decent squad depth.

I would like to say we didn’t deserve to lose in the playoffs - Charlton played poor, so did we, but we got lucky with that own goal and it was too early. I’d have been happy if we went to extra time and penalties, I think we could have took them, but Charlton diving about screaming foul to the ref got them the win. I would like to say this is not over, it’s only the beginning.

Would love your opinion.

Thomas Mitchell

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I think we need a lot more than you’ve suggested. I’d be ruthless and cut anyone we feel isn’t good enough. Add players in every position that offer attributes we lack, get rid of anyone with a dodgy attitude and sign players who are genuinely motivated to succeed here. I know that’s easier said than done but we have to go into this recruitment process with this attitude or we risk ballsing it up like we did in the last two windows.