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Fan Letters: Sunderland’s transfer business must be shrewd and simple - no more mistakes!

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“Why do the fans want the owners to bankrupt the club in order to get 100 points when we only need 10 more than last season?” demands RR reader Jay Hughes. Is he right? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk!

Danny Roberts

Dear Roker Report,

All day I watch the various fan accounts declare what signings we need this summer. As many as 8 new signings some have said. It’s a joke!

We need 10 more points than last season to give us chance at automatic promotion. That’s turning 5 draws into wins. This can arguably be broken down into as little as needing 6 more goals OR conceding 6 fewer goals. That’s all we need! How is signing 8 players a remotely sensible number?

This isn’t football manager. Why do the fans want the owners to bankrupt the club in order to get 100pts when we only need 10 more than last season? People need to grow up.

Trust the process.

Jay Hughes

(P.S. if the question is raised ‘what do we need to achieve those 10pts!’ I would argue a Backup goalie, a CB, and a creative midfielder. Even then I’d petition to give Embleton a chance at CAM in pre-season before committing to buying one.)

Ed’s Note [Damian]: I get where you’re coming from Jay, and I both agree and disagree.

We don’t need an entirely new squad, that much is true, but whatever “the process” is that you’re referring to I can say with confidence that is not to be trusted. The same process was in place the last time we recruited players and yet we find ourselves - as always - needing reinforcement. This is a recurring theme brought about by poor scouting and decision making.

I’m quite surprised to note that you didn’t mention strikers once - surely you aren’t confident in the goal scoring abilities of the statue of Charlie Wyke that we purchased thinking it was a live human, or the infamous Will Grigg - a man with a goal scoring ability so elusive that he couldn’t be less on fire if he was standing in a blizzard encased in a block of ice.

I suppose the issue I have with your suggestion that we don’t need a raft of players is that we have at least two first-team players that need to be moved on and at least four positions that could be drastically improved upon with the correct player in that role. For example, Cattermole and Oviedo command too much money for their level regardless of what you think of them (not much, personally). Beyond that we need full-backs, at least one centre back, at least one winger... the list is endless, really. How long is a piece of string?

I wouldn’t expect or demand eight players, but the eventual figure shouldn’t be far off that. I think it likely that when the club grasp the urgency of the situation we could expect half a dozen new faces but even then still have no guarantees as to our performance in the upcoming season.

Of course at the end of the day it’s about quality isn’t it. If we find players of high quality in the roles you’ve specified, perhaps that would be all that’s required to tip us over the edge. On the flip side of that though it’s obvious to me that player quality isn’t the only thing that held us back last season, considering Ross’s tactical reticence oft times.

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

Dear Roker Report,

I would like to think that in a fair contest in the transfer market that Safc would be a far more attractive proposition than any other club in the division for league one players. And I hope I’m not naive in thinking that we would have the finances available to cherry pick the best players that we need to succeed this season. After all it’s not every club in league one that could afford the £1m asking price for John Marquis.

However I also see the problems that can arise if we get timing of our transfer activity wrong. Unfortunately, I’m sure our board is aware that as soon as we start to splash the cash in this league that you then enable the selling club with the funds to compete against you on other targets. So here’s hoping that when we start to spend, we do it quickly and quietly before the money we spend starts burning a hole in the other clubs pockets. So for now I think we need a little patience, and trust that the calibre of the players we are interested in are (for now at least) outside of the budgets of most of our competitors.

Yours sincerely,

P Brick

Ed’s Note [Damian]: I’m gonna call you Brick because I don’t know your first name and it’s fun for me.

“Where did you get those clothes? The... toilet... store...?”

The concerns you’ve shared seem reasonable enough Brick. One would think that Sunderland AFC is the place to be if you’re floating around at this level looking for a club to call home. The idea that we could cherry pick however, well that’s a different story altogether I fear.

We’re currently cursed with ignorance of the facts. Everything we say as fans is, at this moment in time, pure conjecture and speculation. Fair enough - that’s life, right? But if we’re examining every word that comes from the mouth of a shareholder (which we pretty much are en masse, I’d wager) there are question marks surrounding our ability to attract players of the calibre you’re speaking about.

I wouldn’t be overly concerned about enabling other clubs to compete against us because I honestly don’t believe we have a transfer budget larger than anyone else at this level.

The owners have talked a big talk when it comes to recruitment but so far it’s a bit of a dead duck. We didn’t have a transfer budget that Championship clubs would have envied and we weren’t clever or shrewd in most of our dealings.

The Will Grigg debacle, on the surface of things, would highlight your suggestion that we have money to spend. For me though it only serves to highlight the way we shouldn’t be doing business. We overpaid by a huge sum because the preparation was piss-poor and the powers that be were left with little choice but to make a statement and get what on paper was a sure thing, no matter the cost.

That is the price paid for a lack of proper planning and a lack of experience in the transfer market, and that’s what I want to avoid at all costs this time around.