Dear Roker Report,
I am disappointed that uncertainty around club ownership is once again affecting preparations for the new season ahead.
Although a lot has been made of the clubs need to balance the books, the squad will need time to gel and would rather see the transfer business done much sooner than we have been seeing, especially given the start we face.
That said, I do also value the club being ran in a sustainable way, so simply put big earners need to move on to ensure Sunderland can move forward in the long term.
Unless recruitment is spot on this time and the uncertainty does not end soon, then I fear the current squad simply won’t have enough to get anywhere near 100 points ( even though this was always unrealistic).
Here’s hoping to a successful season, and a swift end to takeover so that preseason preparations can begin with certainty.
Haway the lads!
Ed’s Note [Damian]: I couldn’t agree more Ken: recruitment has to be spot on.
Trouble is if they do manage to get a transfer window right it would be for the first time in years, though obviously with new owners and a completely different recruitment team we can’t blame that on any one individual. For me that’s part of the larger issue. Sunderland AFC have always struggled in the transfer market, whether it be targeting the wrong players or stumbling over themselves trying to save money.
I’m getting sick of saying this but this upcoming season is arguably the most important in our recent history (as was the last until we boll*cksed it up) and there is no room for error. Funding needs to come down from on high and we can’t spend our days doing patchwork jobs to stave off doom for one more year, as seems to have been the case up to this point.
We need to get it right or it will all go wrong.
Dear Roker Report,
I hear all the arguments about Cattermole’s wages and how we can have ten League One players for the same amount, but what is the point of stockpiling ten players of League One standard?
We will only ever be able to play one at a time, and if they are only League One standard then we will never improve our league and be resigned to League One football for as long as we have that mentality.
We need to have players of Cattermole’s quality to drive the players on in games and give us that cutting edge. What we don’t need is three more defensive midfielders alongside him, that makes the whole team defensive minded.
Cattermole can break up the opposition play, win the ball back and drive players on himself, what he needs is some attack minded players alongside him who are going to support our strikers. It’s no good having one striker upfront being marked out by 3 or 4 defenders hoping to get free on goal waiting for that killer pass from defensive midfielders.
We have been crying out for midfielders to support our strikers, getting forward more and force our strikers into the box. It’s no coincidence that players like Dozy Altidore are banging in goals for fun once they find a team that plays them inside the box.
For too often we have played strikers on the wings or using them to hold up play until a midfielder can come up and take the shots. Charlie Wyke for example did not score many goals last season but too many times he was upfront on his own marked out and holding up the ball for a non-scoring midfielder to have a shot.
Has anyone not noticed why he is a striker not scoring goals? Or why Altidore or Borini didn’t score much either? Wyke needs to get in the box and stop pulling defenders back preventing them from doing their jobs and instead concentrate on his job which is to get goals.
Remember if he is not fowling someone we will get possession keep it and create another opportunity. Too many times last season did we have a corner or set piece that came to nothing because someone was pulled back or pushed over in the process.
Cattermole is our saviour at winning the ball back and should be used effectively. The players around him need to move forward threatening their back line giving them no time to mark out our strikers and by doing so freeing them up to attack the goal instead of holding up play waiting for an opportunity for their defence to get back and reorganise.
It’s time to stop moaning about our better players’ wages and start using them to get the best out of their abilities. Cattermole is not like the Rodwell’s, Ndong’s or Djilobodji’s collecting a pay cheque for doing nothing, he gives his all for the club and should be treated with the respect that he has earned and deserves.
We need players who can play at a higher level to drag us back up to the higher levels of football we should be at, rather than just accepting we should cut our losses and buy League One standard players.
For this reason Cattermole should stay, and as I said last season and the season previously he should also be made captain because of his drive and commitment to our club.
Ed’s Note [Damian]: My oh my Johnny, I could not disagree more.
Lee Barry Cattermole has served the club reasonably well over the years, depending on your understanding of that concept. But the drive his supporters have to consider him the only viable candidate for first name on the team sheet and captaincy strikes me as a cult of personality.
We had a Cattermole-specific fan letters recently so I’d refer you to that for a lengthier opinion of mine on this matter, but for now let me just say that we can do much better.
When it comes to his wages and what you’re saying about not wanting 10 League One players instead of him, I take your point. But it’s more an indirect term than a genuine target. The point being that for the wages he’s on we could find someone that does his job and costs less than half the money.
Even if you’re a big Cattermole fan you can’t honestly believe he’s the be-all and end-all in that position. He gives the ball away as much as anyone, his legs went years ago and for all of his aggression (often disguised as passion) he’s a squad player at best.
Five years ago I’d have agreed with you but even then the arguments against him would have still been tenable, and offset only by his relative youth. Without that I’m afraid he’s simply very replaceable.