Dear Roker Report,
Should we alarmed?
A failed takeover bid, which seemed to be quite far down the line.
A different claim about parachute payments compared to what was said at the time of the takeover.
Big speculation that we’re going to sell our 2 best players from last season, geadz and JM1.
Very little commutation from the owners since Christmas.
Lack of PR from the club in all areas. From pushing tickets, to the membership scheme which they couldn’t stop talking about last year.
Plans to develop the ticket office into the club store and make a bar in the current club shop seem to have stalled. Other priorities maybe?
Hardly any speculation of players coming in. Fair enough that the club can’t do anything about this.
Promising youngsters not signing contracts, benji and Embleton.
Lots of players coming to the end of 2 year deals.
Just 4 pre season games sorted.
Jack Ross clearly lost his was of playing when Maja left and he seemed very cautious from January onwards. Looked a totally different team/manager.
100 point season is the target from a team who didn’t get near that last season and we haven’t significantly strengthened our side.
Not much to be positive about at the minute! Or do I just need to relax and it’ll most of these points will be addressed in the next few weeks.
Ed’s Note [Damian]: Yes, essentially Matthew, I’d say you just need to relax and most of it will fix itself in the coming days. It’s easy to forget the panoply of tasks awaiting the club at this time of year, and I’d suggest much of the silence and anxiety is brought on by that.
On a personal note I think 100 points may not have been the right thing to say. People (and clubs) are held accountable for their words as much as they are their deeds, and claiming to be pursuing 100 points in any league is asking for it to bite you in the arse. I’m confident we can form a winning team and achieve promotion, but I think belief that the upcoming campaign will be one of the best that Sunderland AFC have ever had is, at best, a bit romantic.
But who am I to be cynical? There’s far too much of that these days. I’ll be the first to celebrate if we reach a century. Reach for the stars and all that.
Dear Roker Report,
Like all before we are led to believe that our precious and beloved side is in capable hands. I have supported Sunderland for 65 years and can say that the present management team are third rate. All they want is to feed you false promises so you buy season tickets. Sunderland will not be promoted as it is not in there interest.
Ed’s Note [Damian]: But of course it’s in their interest, Richard. Owning and operating a Championship club is far more profitable than a League One equivalent. Even if the designs of the owners were as cold as you suggest, whether they choose to sell or stay, it’s in their interests to chase promotion. If they want to sell it’s more valuable in the league above, and if they want to stay it’s... more valuable in the league above.
We only narrowly missed out on promotion last season and it’s public knowledge that plans were in place for Sunderland to move forward in a higher tier. I can’t imagine Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven were particularly relieved when that b*stard goal was bundled in at the death. Quite the opposite, in fact; I can reliably tell you that they were crestfallen.
Dear Roker Report,
By “panic” buying, it does not have to be similar to the Griggs deal, which epitomises panic buying ! It was not that long ago when we could have bought Millwall’s regular right back, not the reserve, or Coventry’s whole team, let alone their reserve goalkeeper. Is he going to be a better prospect than the young lad that we let go ? We put four past him !! It seems that the hierarchy feel the need to sign anyone, rather than adding better quality players to the squad. That is panic buying also. “Buying” ? They both were freebies. The club has had a year to assess who are the good players in League one. They should have had names noted throughout the season. We need players to turn the draws into wins. We don’t have them at present.
Catts going doesn’t worry me, he is at the wrong age and a marmite person. I do not like marmite, especially after losing 8-0 at Southampton! It frees up a large salary.
What does worry me is if McLaughlin goes. Along with Maja and to some extent McGeadie, they were our stand out players in a very below average squad.
Loan players are not the answer, as was proved last year. They were all shocking. Look for young hungry players, and if we do not have them, find them.
The recruitment to date has been very poor. Who is the decision maker here ? Perhaps that is where the problem is.
Just look at our ground, facilities and fan base. Surely that is a big attraction to players. Playing in front of 40,000 instead of 8000 at Burton, must surely be a pull. Yet we couldn’t beat Burton.
It makes fans angry after watching years of mismanagement take it toll, and .... is it still here?
Ed’s Note [Damian]: To some extent I would agree with you Adrian. Loans aren’t the answer and the last thing we need is a panic buy. However, from what I can tell that’s the opposite of what the club have been going for in this window. I can’t vouch for anything of course, that’s just the impression I get, and the question marks surrounding Tony Coton and his involvement (considering he theoretically has employers that are no longer Sunderland) mean I can’t tell you exactly who is in charge of recruitment right now - quite an indictment itself on the surface of things.
I am confident, though, that the club are being diligent in their manoeuvres in pre-season, and the players that have been brought in so far have received some glowing references from fans of their former clubs. When all is said and done though we simply have to sit on our hands and wait to see.
Dear Roker Report,
Thanks for the fascinating away guides and a number are alluring close to North Wales , where I live- Tranmere- Shrewsbury- Accrington-Rochdale- to name but a few.
Given our fantastic travelling support and ticketing arrangements I am extremely unlikely to light on the occasional ticket.
Come on SAFC can you help such an exiled Mackem ( 55 years and rising) see more of his team?
Andrew Bailey (Wrexham)
Ed’s Note [Damian]: Your kind comments have been passed on to Tom Walsh - the sherpa that traverses the arid Steppes of League One - and he’s suggested that both Accrington and Rochdale will most likely go to general sale. Otherwise he recommends you look for local supporters branches and arrange your tickets through them. It’s a good idea either way and even if your local branch doesn’t arrange tickets (though many do) you’ll likely find easier access to them through fellow supporters. And it’s just nice to be around mackems, eh.