Dear Roker Report,
I am probably showing my vintage, but if you pressed me for one only it would have to be one Charlie Hurley - also beloved of Millwall. He was the immovable mountain at the centre of the team that set me on a half century (and rising) of support for our “by far the greatest team!”
I saw him resolutely repelling invaders, saw him score from corners, and will picture til my dying day him standing about 15 yards from a corner and not only taking the force of it flat in the face, without blinking, but somehow deflecting it up the wing for a counter attack.
They don’t build them like that anymore.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: Cracking story about Charlie Hurley launching a counter attack with his face! I can’t help but feel like this current side are desperate for a Hurley-esque centre half in order to help fix our weak defence.
We desperately need a leader at the back, one who inspires others, who puts his body one the line, and even launches the odd counter attack with his face!
Dear Roker Report,
When I read posts calling this season a failure, it calls to mind all the negativity surrounding Sunderland’s last two years in the Premier League and single year in the Championship.
So much pride. So much passion. So much vitriol.
For me, negativity breeds negativity. Players feed off the energy of the fan base, but also wither under the harsh light of fan criticism. I understand they are paid millions to do a job. I understand that our fans are passionate and put up good money to back them. I also admit that I will never truly know what it is like to be born into the club as both an American and a more recent convert. But I believe Mr. Donald means to do right by Sunderland. I believe that Jack Ross is a quality manager who can guide us to the Championship and possibly beyond.
They may make some mistakes. Was selling Maja worth potentially losing out on promotion? Was overpaying for Grigg the right way to compensate for Maja’s loss? Mistakes will be made, but I humbly urge more belief.
Before this season started, we were in utter disarray. We’re more stable now. We’ve seen more youth make a contribution to the club than at any time in my albeit short tenure as a fan. Promotion would be glorious, falling short less so. Whether it is this year or next though, I know we will make it back.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: I definitely agree with the majority of what you are saying.
We certainly need to back the team going into these last few games because, as you noted, the players will feed off the fans’ energy. Limited energy means a limited response and these upcoming games are quite literally the biggest of our recent history.
That being said, I do feel as though fans have a right to feel somewhat aggrieved at the current situation due to the fact we held our chances of automatic promotion within our own grasp before relinquishing it via a series of poor performances on the pitch. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. Here’s hoping the Lads secure promotion on Sunday May 26th. Ha’way!
Dear Roker Report,
Failing to get promoted was no great surprise to me, everything is new and Barnsley were better than us last season.
It is, however, disturbing the way that we fell apart in April, only picking up 6 points from the last 7 games, and it brings back painful memories from April of last year when we should have beaten both Burton and Reading and, if so, would have stayed up - but on both occasions we conceded in the last minutes.
Lets hope that this year’s debacle was due to a lack of motivation and not a loser-mentality.
I think missing out on promotion this season could be a blessing in disguise and we will be better prepared next season - we only need to sign a couple of robust centre backs!
Steve the Swede
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Whilst I understand your points I’m at pains to point out that the season is not yet over. I’m actually a little tired of people talking about things like we’re not going to get promoted - Sunderland are three games from the Championship and we need people to get on board with that in order to ensure we give the players the best possible environment to thrive in when Portsmouth arrive at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Haway people, let’s back the team.