Dear Roker Report,
I realise that this is becoming an increasingly minority opinion, but I would like to argue the case for holding our nerve and sticking with Jack Ross - at least for now.
Point 1 - we are not alone in having a wobbly start. While performances haven’t been great, we are still 5th in the table and above Peterborough, Portsmouth, Rotherham, Doncaster, Lincoln and Burton who many tipped to have good seasons. If we can hold this position while having played as poorly as we have at time, that in itself offers me some hope for the future.
Point 2 - expectations are still misaligned with reality. I keep hearing things like “a club of Sunderland’s stature should be steamrollering this league” - clubs don’t play football matches, teams do - and the 11 players on the pitch are, with perhaps the exception of McGeady, League One standard players. Why do Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke miss so many chances? - because if thy had the conversion rates that people seem to expect of them they would be playing at a much higher level. Why do we conceded too many soft goals? Because our defenders are not as good as the ones playing for the likes of Brentford and Millwall.
Point 3 - Who would we get and what could they do? We do not seem to be awash with ideas of who the right manager would be if Ross was disposed of, and they could have little impact on the team as the squad would remain the same until January at least.
Give Ross 2 more months to turn it round - I cant believe we will drop out of the race altogether in that time - then if things are no better at the start of December you can get a new manager in time for January. For now lets hold our nerve and back him because he is the one who can get us back on track (for now!).
Paul (Chester le Street)
Ed’s Note [Gav]: My worry with Ross is that we’re seeing fundamental issues that have been there for some time now that he has made absolutely no attempt to address. There’s no obvious style of play, we’re nearly in October and still don’t have a settled ‘core’, we have players like Grigg who he cannot get goals from and we are heavily reliant on McGeady.
The poor style of football is what has frustrated fans the most, and whilst most seem willing to let it slide when we are picking up results, once a bad one comes around it compounds that feeling of boredom and, in turn, people begin to complain about what they’re seeing.
I said to friends after the Bolton game that Jack looks defeated, however if he proves he’s willing to change - i.e. put a team out there that isn’t being held back by the aged legs of Leadbitter, the reliance on McGeady, and presses and harries our opposition into making mistakes - and can couple that with a long winning run, he’ll be fine.
I remain unconvinced that he’s capable, and should Sunderland lose on Saturday then you can expect the atmosphere in the stadium to be even more toxic than it was down at Bolton. I think it’d be interesting to be a fly on the wall whilst the current owners are talking about the manager, because I think it could have been very tempting for them to give Jack the sack after Saturday yet he remains in charge. Clearly someone is prepared to give him time.
Dear Roker Report,
This takeover isn’t done yet. When the papers are signed I’ll believe it.
Remember that in May 2018 SD gave a statement saying he was “heading a group of international investors”. No names or details of who they were. Within days they disappeared with SD issuing a statement saying “the EFL and other contacts in football advised him to do the takeover on his own, as it would speed it up”. If there were genuine international investors how would dropping them speed things up??? In May 2019 SD was on the verge of selling to USA investors. According to SD it was a done deal. Then it all changed at the last minute. In August 2019 SD announces that he is in talks with USA Billionaire investors. In mid Sept he announced the takeover was imminent. We’re still waiting. Sorry to be a pessimist but track record on SD announcements regarding take overs does not install confidence.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Who knows what is going on - we can only presume that things have stalled somewhat, or that it’s taking longer than first thought, as at the time of writing nothing has been confirmed as complete, despite the fact that the prospective new owners set up a company last week which we can presume they’ll buy the club with.
Stewart often gets excited when discussing things, though I guess it depends upon your definition of ‘imminent’, doesn’t it? These things do not happen overnight and even though it may appear as though the deal is almost done, who knows what could happen - a spanner in the works, a change in the terms of the deal, a change in the price... that’s not to say that any of the above have happened here, but I’m remaining patient.