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Fan Letters: Who was to ‘blame’ for Maja leaving, and should Sunderland keep Lee Cattermole?

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“I think that it’s time for the fans to start supporting Sunderland” writes RR reader Johnny, whilst Veronica discusses Maja leaving and Rob thinks Cattermole is a ‘legend’ who we need to keep next season. But what do you think? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk!

Dear Roker Report,

Why do Sunderland fans think Ross was behind Maja leaving? As far as I am aware Ross could do nothing to keep Maja as decisions were made out of his control. The only criticism of Jack Ross is that he promoted Maja so well that other clubs were bound to come sniffing!

Give Ross a chance this coming season and I’m sure we will be in automatic promotion place back to championship.

Veronica C

Ed’s Note [Damian]: I’ve heard every name under the sun given the blame for Maja leaving, often in the same breath as our failed promotion bid, and I agree with you Veronica. You can’t chain a player to the walls of the dressing room and unleash him on a match day. Managers often have the least say of anyone when it comes to events like that; no manager worth his salt would have cast aside his top goal scorer with no replacement lined up in such a critical season. When it all boils down the young man heard the call to greener pastures and he took it, and there’s precious little anyone at the club could do about it.

Interesting to note that since he moved to the bright lights of Bordeaux he has made seven appearances and scored one goal. Big, bright lights indeed.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Lee Cattermole is a must for next year. He is one of a few players that actually cares about the club he represents in all areas, on and off the pitch. The lad is Mr Sunderland we must keep him. Deserves a testimonial no question.

When the time comes when he retires, keep him at the club in some capacity.

Total Legend.

Rob Brown

Ed’s Note [Damian]: I couldn’t disagree with you more Rob, though not for his lack of heart; Cattermole wears it on his sleeve and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s got red and white stripes on every chamber.

Aside from his hefty wages there are half a dozen other reasons to allow the man to move on. As much as I admire his passion and nothing quite stirs the heart like watching him scream blue murder at opponents and colleagues alike, that passion doesn’t paper over the cracks that have been there for some time now. I’m of the opinion that for as long as players in the mould of Cattermole are consuming resources and playing time in such a vital position, we will never be able to truly depend on the outcome of a midfield battle without a huge amount of risk.

That isn’t to say that he’s merely a liability but he is, in many ways. He’s also no spring chicken. I think it’s fair to say a lot is made of him as a Sunderland player first and a footballer second, and while he’s clearly a consummate professional I think both the club and the man himself would benefit from going their separate ways.

You’re by no means alone in your view though, and it’s as valid as anyone else’s. I would just like to see someone else come in that’s more dependable that can freshen up that spot on the team sheet.

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-off Final Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I think that it’s time for to stop publishing fans negative opinions from Jack Ross’ point of view and get behind the team for next season.

Yes, I’m bitterly disappointed about last season too. Far too many draws and defensive tactics when we have a squad that can and should of gone on to win by much bigger margins.

BUT their is something that the fans which are very short sighted fail to see.

ROSS inherited a squad of failures, players who didn’t want to play for the club, players who were happy to just collect a pay cheque, coupled with FFP rules meaning that even if Messi or Ronaldo wanted to play for the club and Donald had the money to sign them the club would fall foul of the rules.

This season has been a major major balancing act, new owners, working tirelessly to reshape the club, move on unwanted players, bringing in a new up and coming manager, bring in adequate replacements, getting the fans back onside, getting the players left damaged by years of negativity back onside and making them understand what it takes to win again.

Seeing the team fight back against Walsall, and Accrington Stanley (OK we should never have been behind) showed real passion and a never seen in years willingness from the players to not give up has shown me the changes implemented by both Ross and Donald and should be commended.

The fact that we have clearly stopped the rot from previous years is amazing. Fans need to remember being second top in the Premier league and abusing Peter Reid who still finished 7th top.

Donald has tried to appease fans by bringing in their chosen striker in Grigg which so far hasn’t been productive but what if Donald wasn’t under so much pressure to appease fans and made a footballing decision to bring an unknown name in like Maguire or even another Phillips for example.

I for one slagged of both of them unknowns when they first signed but wow how much do I enjoy watching them play.

I think that it’s time for the fans to start supporting Sunderland, the eleven players picked, the young manager learning from both good and bad games and a chairman who has given the opportunity and club back to the fans.

Johnny Mcvittie

Eds Note [Damian]: I take your point about negativity becoming toxic over time. The thing is that as a fan site we exist purely to promote discussion amongst fans and to share the opinions of not just our contributors, but whoever chooses to raise them. I like to think there won’t ever come a time when Roker Report isn’t publishing fan opinion merely because it’s negative.

While I can appreciate the desire for everyone to ‘get behind the club’ it isn’t something every fan owes by default. If people aren’t satisfied or excited; if they feel undervalued or unappreciated, they’re entitled to. The thing about generating momentum for a cause is you really can’t force people to care. Momentum isn’t created by any one act or event, but rather a chain of events with a catalyst. The catalyst for Sunderland fan support across the board would have been promotion at the first time of asking. Sadly that wasn’t to be and the outpouring of discontent is an expected - if unpleasant - symptom of that failure.

Don’t be downhearted though because it’s still early days. A few good signings through the door and the anticipation of another season will see good spirits come roaring back, I’ve no doubt.