Dear Roker Report,
I really wanted Jack Ross to do well for us. I heard when he arrived here that he was a manager who worked especially well at getting is teams comfortable in the final third. Reports indicated that he constantly practiced execution in the final third. They indicated that he gave his players freedom to express themselves and that by doing this, it allowed them to build a reaction to chances around the opposition’s net, a second nature if you will.
That must have been fake news. We never look close to scoring or even like a cohesive team at the moment. This opening match draw is not just a one game thing. Going back to last season, this is becoming a trend for us. I’ve felt that we should’ve let Ross go in the summer after the way we capitulated last season. With 8 games to go we somehow managed to be in a fantastic position considering all the draws, yet we blew it.
Surely we must move on from Ross as he simply isn’t learning. We’re regressing. Gooch on the wing and O’Nien on the bench to start the game? It’s not just the draws, it’s the manner we play in. We have no moxy, no swagger, no attacking acumen and no defensive nous. How much longer do we wait to move on from Ross? How many more points must we drop for us to see this isn’t working? He is out of his depth and has been for some time now.
My question to the writers of this website and to the fans who love to post here is: how much longer do we wait?
I thought it was insanity to expect anything else from Ross this season. He is what he is. We can see that clear as day. I thought he should’ve been shown the door before this season began and I’m afraid this opening draw with Oxford has solidified my thinking. This draw was exactly what I was expecting. We almost lost if it wasn’t for the penalty.
I can’t bear to watch this go on for another season.
I ask again: how long do we wait?
Ed’s Note [Damian]: Not long I would wager, Scott. Not long at all.
Watching the Oxford game I took a different perspective to many because I’m of the opinion that we played well. Call it the months of absence from the beautiful game, call it wistful hope, but I found myself enjoying watching Sunderland play for the first time in a long time.
I think evidence of Ross’s influence is now starting to shine through, particularly when it comes to the attacking line. We looked dangerous in the second half and every time the ball went forward there was a sense that something big could happen. Now that isn’t to say that we didn’t let ourselves down, but I think a greater deal more analysis needs to come first before we can readily dismiss Ross for another draw.
Gooch was back to his usual tenacious self and he contributed directly to the result. McNulty looked involved in everything and frankly did more with the ball in 45 minutes than Grigg has done for us ever. Grigg who, I might add, was once again sauntering around the pitch expecting the defenders to part like the Red Sea and for the ‘keeper to nip to the toilet mid-game (though he did make a few good passes).
There were positives and negatives. I would blame the result on the players (in as reasonable a fashion as possible) more than the manager, but inevitably the buck does stop with him. In my opinion he couldn’t have been clearer in his intent - wing-backs, three at the back, the introduction of Watmore and McGeady, both attacking players - and but for a few mistakes here and there the result could have been so very different. I’m of the belief that we’ll crack the code under Ross before he’s forced out.
That all being said - if we’re still drawing games by October I’ll be very surprised to see him remain in the dugout, for better or for worse.
Dear Roker Report,
It is a while since Mr Donald has provided us with his excellent updates on all things SAFC. I like many would be interested in some clarity on current wages. Including last years loan players Sunderland have off loaded 13 players and brought in 5. Included in the 13 to leave are Kone, Cattermole, Oviedo, Matthews, Honeyman, Love and Ruiter - all I assume we’ll paid. With over 22,000 more than the next highest attendance on Saturday surely we are in a position to further strengthen the squad as Saturday highlighted that we still need a few additions if the 100 points target is going to be achieved.
Ed’s Note [Damian]: I’m confident there are still going to be one or two new faces in the coming days, Peter.
As for clarity forthcoming from Stewart Donald, I think you’ll have a long wait. The efforts he made to ease tensions by directly dismissing/accepting rumours/facts were abused to the point of embarrassment, and I can’t see a gift horse like that arriving again any time soon.
It’s a crying shame but what more can we expect? He reached out a hand and had it snapped off. That’s gratitude for you.