Dear Roker Report,
I feel it’s rather hypocritical that we strive to become like Dortmund but don’t actually play the youth players. There’s been lots of noise about academy players being given their big break, but when they actually could have been given regular football due to fatigue and loss of form none were used.
We should have at least one on the bench a week and if we don’t blood them this year they won’t be deemed good enough for next year so we’ll have wasted money and time, not just for us but them as well.
We’ve just let a fantastic keeper go and let another young fantastic striker go last season - how is that the Dortmund model?
Use them or lose them - we have not learned anything and will lose major talents who could, especially at our current level, be playing and at least help us to rest tired legs.
It’s a very concerning trend which, for all the noise, is happening again.
Ed’s Note [Tom]: I was also really excited at the prospect of becoming a club that acquires young talent, develops it, and uses it to find success. That really didn’t happen this season, did it? For example, why did we loan in Sterling when Benji Kimpioka looked canny in his brief showings?
I’m hoping next season sees Ross better utilise the youth contingent.
Dear Roker Report,
As a supporter of Sunderland AFC for over sixty five years, this is my first article to the Roker Report and I hope you find it worthy of publication.
The target set by our directors for next season, is apparently 100 points, 15 more than we achieved last season. With that task ahead, here are my 15 key factors, to ensure we achieve it.
1. Jack Ross gets our full support for one more season, to prove if he’s capable or incapable, of taking our club forward. Automatic promotion as champions, is our one and only target.
2. On the pitch we show the opposition less respect than last season. We need to be ruthless, cut out the draws and win matches more convincingly.
3. We make sure whatever it takes, our goalkeeper next season is Jon McLaughlin.
4. Whatever format we play, be it 5,3,2, or 4,4,2, or 3,5,2, there must always be two strikers up front, with an attacking minded midfield and an attacking minded defence behind them.
5. Whichever system we play, we need at least two or possibly even three new defenders.
6. These new defenders must be much more capable of dealing with high balls and in total command of their own penalty area. While they must also have the physical presence to intimidate the opposition.
7. They must also have the ability to overawe the opposition in their own penalty area during set pieces and have the motivation and directive to get forward to score goals.
8. Whatever it takes, we must hang onto Aiden McGeady.
9. We make Lee Cattermole Team Captain.
10. With a target of 100 points set, we will need to score around 100 goals to achieve it. We will therefore clearly need an additional striker who can score 20 plus a season, feeding off Wyke or Grigg, while the latter two need to spend a lot of time on the training ground during the close season and pre season.
11. We need a new right winger who can take on defenders and hit accurate crosses into the penalty area.
12. In the Checkatrade Trophy, no matter how far we progress, we play our second eleven for every match. This will ensure our youngsters get first team experience and our experienced players don’t run out of steam, as they did last season.
13. Would the team members and management please stop whinging on about the opposition raising their games when they play Sunderland and deal with it.
14. In the process of winning promotion, nothing would give me more pleasure than to see the Black Cats stuff Fleetwood Town twice and shut Joey Big Mouth Barton up once and for all, from his constant attack and criticism of our club.
15. Finally, to help our team on their way, I would like to hear our supporters singing a bit more. Therefore, I’m proposing we adapt alternative words to The Animals song, “There is a house in New Orleans”, using the words:
There is, a team, called Sun-der-land,
And we’re ganna, win, the league
We’re gonna, score, 100 goals
And be Cham-pions, once, again.
Robert Hall (Sunderland Forever)
Ed’s Note [Tom]: Love a good song suggestion, Robert, thanks for a really interesting letter! I think you highlight some pertinent issues - especially the need to strengthen our defence and be more ruthless on the pitch. I think your first point is also an important one - Ross needs time to to find success, but he must do that this season.
Dear Roker Report,
I’m just hoping Jack Ross does what he did at St Mirren.
His first season he steadied the ship, then the next season they went up as champions.
Just my Hopes!
Ed’s Note [Tom]: Fingers crossed, Mal! I’m hopeful that this is the case, too. I think as long as we sign the required players then we can find success this season - hopefully Ross leads us to promotion.