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Fan Letters: Does Sunderland need drastic action from Stewart Donald?

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“Swanning around the bars of Sunderland, with impressionable fans, may keep a few fans happy but this is not really what is needed now.” Some RR readers are feeling the frustration following a disappointing draw with Bolton


I have been consistent in my opinion of not only Ross but of SD. They are both well out of their depth. Any decision SD makes will be based on money, not primary the well being of SAFC.

Swanning around the bars of Sunderland, with impressionable fans, may keep a few fans happy but this is not really what is needed now. It is so clear that Ross is not capable of managing us and SD should act now. To date it has always been “we are constrained by the financial rules on what we can spend” and fans expectations are unrealistic. This has resulted in us getting a bunch of free/loan players who are just not good enough to take us up under Ross. Although I would add that a Roy Keane or Big Sam would lift these players and take us up.

There is no restraint on payments/salary made to a manager. Regardless of potential new owners, it’s time SD invested some of the £50 Million he waved about to the EFL, or get Satori to do what he was bought onboard to do, invest in a manager befitting SAFC

After all my previous comments, you have jumped to the defence of both SD and Ross but surely even RR can see that enough is enough. We will not go up this season unless proper changes are made.

Sam Lucas

Ed’s Note (Damian): Let me begin with your first point, that everything Stewart Donald does won’t be driven by what’s best for the club, but rather what’s best for himself - why are those two things mutually exclusive?

Stewart Donald got a massive bargain when he engineered the purchase of Sunderland AFC. He didn’t do it because he was a die-hard Sunderland fan, his nana wasn’t a mackem, he didn’t swear by someone’s deathbed that no matter what it took he was going to turn the Stadium of Light into a fortress - he’s a businessman that spotted an opportunity to make money.

It just so happens that, while it’s not impossible to make money by destroying clubs, it’s a hell of a lot easier to do when the club you own is a success. If you follow the timeline of Stewart Donald’s actions since he took ownership, I think you’ll find them quite in-keeping with the idea of an owner that wants to see his club succeed; huge commitment to steady a sinking ship; a whopping £5mil slapped down on what turned out - against most people’s expectations, I might add - to be a pack of magic beans; the (hopefully) imminent takeover by some of the most robust and creditable investment you’ll ever see. It doesn’t look so bad to me as it does to you. I think it’s a bit unfair to act like Stewart Donald has done nothing for us. I certainly think his public appearances go far beyond simple photo opportunities.

Having said that - Jack Ross’s house isn’t exactly built on safe ground right now. It’s true that I myself have leaned in favour of Ross in the time he’s been here, I can’t deny that - but I’ve had my reasons. I still don’t know if it would be better to replace him now or later or at all, but I’m starting to feel the trepidation at his team selection and the roles of the players at his disposal, I’m starting to feel genuine concern by his tactical choices (or his players’ total ignorance of it, evidently). I feel now that if “Should Jack Ross get the sack?” was a fence, I’d be precariously see-sawing from side to side as the wood rotted and crumbled beneath me.

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

The league position is not bad but what do earth is Ross doing on team selections. One up front against a team that has conceded 24 goals drops Ozturk the man is showing he has not got a clue.Luke Onein the poor lad is playing all over the place he will not play the club captain what is going on last year he played Honeyman and he was shite.I am afraid Ross is proving he is out of his depth there is a big difference from the Scottish Prem and he is being found out saying that the Bolton performance lacked empathy at the end of the day the buck stops with the manager.The take over will be happening soon pack your bags I think your history .The team is set up not to lose games to negative he chops and changes he has had his chance sorry but the truth hurts to many drawn games ithink he’s history.

Mark Wild

Ed’s note (Damian): I was a big fan of Honeyman, and I think he got a really harsh time of it from a lot of fans when he was one of our better players, and he bled red and white. But hey-ho, we move on. I think you may be right that when the takeover happens a new manager will be on the shopping list. Whether that happens immediately or he has a chance to prove himself again is another question altogether.

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Hello Roker Report,

Not sure if this is the right time to write as I am feeling very frustrated. I am not over keen on change but we need to be realistic. We have a manager who seems to be fixated with analysing football statistics. If so why does he not analyse how many second halves we have won since Xmas 2018, particularly when ahead or drawing? God only knows what inspirational talk he gives during the interval. We could and should be well ahead of the rest of the teams in this league but aren’t. The manager keeps telling us to blame him. Fine he won’t walk so needs to be sacked.

Peter Laverick

Ed’s note (Damian): I understand your frustration, Peter, I do. I think that’s perhaps a better way of describing the feelings Ross inspires in me - frustration. As I’ve said previously it’s hard for me to commit to saying he isn’t good enough when there are at least endearing qualities to his management, if not redeeming ones. I don’t think it’s enough to ensure his tenure as manager of Sunderland AFC though, I will say that. Regardless of my own opinion on the matter our fortunes are rather precariously balanced as it stands, and I’m sure that if the new investment comes in it will take a sufficiently ruthless view.