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Fan Letters: Should Sunderland be utilising their youth prospects instead of signing journeymen?

Should there be a greater focus on developing young players instead of making stop-gap signings this season? Has the time come for Ethan Robson, Denver Hume, Elliot Embleton and Benji Kimpioka to shine? Email us:!

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Since the end of last season where ultimately we fell short at the final hurdle, there has been a lot of negativity surrounding the club. An absolute far cry from last year where nearly everyone was on board with the new owners, with Jack Ross and the realisation that what had occurred over the last 9-10 years had not worked.

Unfortunately some fans seem to have fallen back into wanting new owners who can just throw money at the problem, getting rid of Jack Ross due to “negative tactics” and still thinking that we are a team in a much higher division.

Spending in League One

Generally free transfers/loans every season with the occasional transfer fee being paid for a player. Don’t believe me? Check and see for yourself. You can go back for a good 5-6 seasons minimum and won’t see any team spending as much as we did on Will Grigg alone.

Throwing money at teams and players so that we can ascend may work short term, but where did it take us when did it under Keane/Bruce? Crippling Financial Debt which again prevented us from spending in the Premier League and the Championship and ultimately took us to the division we are in right now. Which brings us onto the next point…

Stewart Donald, Charlie Methven and Juan Sartori

When Stewart and Charlie took the club on, they advised:

Financially the club was in a sorry state of affairs and they needed to fix that.

Previous activity in terms of spending/ownership/management had not worked and therefore would not be repeated

They wanted to get the club back to the Premier League, HOWEVER would struggle to compete financially with the teams up there so would look for further investment down the line if not looking to sell the club to people they believe would be beneficial to the club and not just wish to milk it like a cash cow (please ask the Geordies up the road how that is going for them…)

As it stands, yes we are all disappointed we didn’t go up last season but these lads haven’t lied or deviated and have tried to remain as open as possible with the fans.

The financial turnaround we have had in ONE season in League ONE is astonishing. Ellis Short left us a little gift in removing a significant amount of the debt but the running costs of the club were still astronomical (need I remind everyone that we were paying £1k a month on plant pots). These are now at a point where they were deemed manageable.

They have looked to get the Mark Campbell consortium in for investment/a takeover. We haven’t been provided much detail around this, nor should we as there are significant amount of sums involved and at the end of the day the club is a business. How often do you hear every single detail around a business deal? There are likely things being discussed which cannot be disclosed to the public and neither party wishes for anything to be stated unless it is completed/falls through.

At the end of the day, this club is a business to Stewart/Charlie/Juan, whilst it may get under their skin we are still a business in which they are wanting to make money from. How many club owners care about their fans? You’ll find the majority want it to make money or because they’re a bored multi-billionaire who wants something to do (E.g. Manchester City/PSG owner). These three saved us from going into administration or going further doing the leagues, we should be thankful and not questioning their every move.

“Jack Ross is too negative with his tactics”

We find ourselves about to go into a season for the first time in 10 (Yes, that is the number Ten) years with the same manager for consecutive seasons. That is ridiculous by all accounts and our league position clearly shows that it hasn’t worked each time we change it.

When Jack came into the club last season, he had a very short amount of time to get players in so that we would have a team. Effectively Jack had too replace the entire team, some players worked out and some have not. Same as any transfer.

However, Jack now has a season under his belt, knows the qualities of the players that he does have and knows what he needs to bring in, to improve on and what he needs to do to implement his own style.

Keep the Faith everyone, the better times will come again!

Danny McCabe

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I think along the same lines as you Danny. I think people need to cut the owners some slack and let them get on with running the club.

One thing that I think needs to be pointed out is the fact we’re still in the first week or so of pre-season. The transfer window doesn’t end for us until the last day of August and that’s a long way away. We have plenty of time to get ourselves sorted, despite the fact we’d all like our team to be in place as early as possible.

On Jack Ross - I want to see him succeed here. I didn’t agree when people were calling for him to be sacked after the end of last season but I also acknowledge that any leeway he received from supporters has now gone, and he can’t afford to have a poor start.

There’s big pressure on everyone at the club to get us promoted this coming season, and I just hope we’ve got the bottle to get the job done.

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Although current transfer business has been slower than most of us would like, the focus on young players with potential is exactly what we all wanted to see from the club following the bad times. A rebuild from the ground up – solid foundations, get rid of the bloated deadwood and all that.

The reality is that the current Directors don’t have the resources to throw at transfer fees and the potential new investors are delaying. Maybe they don’t have any real money either and are waiting for the transfer window to shut before making a move. That way they don’t have to put their hands in their pockets and can take a gamble on the squad being good enough to go one better than last season.

Clive Alderson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: It’s a good point that actually. How many other teams in this league would shunt their best youth products down to the stiffs, or loan them out?

I think Embleton, Kimpioka and Mumba would certainly be important squad players at just about every other League One club - perhaps through necessity - and that has to come into our thinking. Do we develop a young player as opposed to recruiting someone?

Ethan Robson and Denver Hume have a massive opportunity ahead of them. Both are now viewed as valuable first team players and will play a lot of football, providing they stay fit.

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