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Fan Letters: “Who was more important, Super Kev or Sir Niall?” asks Sunderland fan

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In today’s fan letters, William hits back at editor Rich’s assessment of our midfield, James really likes our podcasts and Tim poses the ultimate question... Let us know what you think - RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Sunderland Training Photo by Steve Morton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

After Alec Finn’s letter one of the Roker Report team said we have some experienced players in the said positions who would walk into any other League One teams.

I don't know which team this person has been watching, even if it has been only over the last 18 months, but to say we have players who would walk into any other team in the third tier after our players' performances over the last 18 months is absolutely astounding. Most of the players we have at the moment wouldn't get into division three in Scottish football.

Correct me if I am wrong, but this squad over the last 18 months, under this so-called football manager who has played them week in, week out (although I accept not all at the same time, cos you can only start with 11), but our players over the last year and a half got us to our lowest ever league position, and we’ve been knocked out at the first round in cups. And the writer says that we have players who would walk into other third tier teams?!

Talk about looking at SAFC through red and white glasses, instead of seeing obvious crap performances and big-headed egos from the SAFC squad over the previous year and a half.

I dinnett nar what players you’re on about walking into any other team in division three - I would like to know which players you mean. But I do know most of them have been walking lazily around most football grounds over the last 78 weeks.

Maybe if these players had been at other clubs we might have finished in a better league position, and faired a bit better In cup games. If you're going to reply to peoples texts about why some players should be given a chance when others have failed, don’t talk garbage and gan to specsavers so you can see how crap our players have been. SAFC players walking into other teams? In the words of Jim Royle - “MY ARSE”.

I would love to assess SAFC through my heart, just like you, and I know your heart is with SAFC, but unfortunately I have to let my head rule my heart these days when it comes to the way things are at Sunderland AFC.

William Longworth

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for your letter, William.

Watching Phil Parkinson’s side over the last 12 months, I’ve seen with my own bespectacled eyes that Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire, who are currently first choice in the kind of attacking midfield roles that many of us would like to see Dan Neil and Jack Diamond play, have provided the majority of the team’s goals, and in the deeper midfield role we have gone with either captain Max Power, or club captain and this season’s star performer Grant Leadbitter. We are yet to concede a goal from open play. And that’s why I think it will be only through injury, suspension or rotation that the young players will get a shot.

Football is a game of opinions, but the stats can give us an insight too. Sunderland are currently, if we trust Steve Tiltman’s model, probably the best side in League 1. We are fortunate to have Neil and Diamond at the club it is certainly the case that playing differently, with creative players who offer different qualities, may be what unlocks our failing strikers. Like I said to Alec, I hope they’ll be given a chance very soon.

Sunderland v Luton Town - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Settle an argument for me... who was more important to SAFC, Super Kev or Sir Niall?

Tim Beech

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for this one, Tim. You really want me to choose? I don’t think its right or fair - it’s like choosing between my children or my parents - but if you are going to force me... I will go with Niall Quinn.

TheStatCat’s player profiles show that Quinn was part of a winning Sunderland team on 66% of his starting appearances, whereas for Phillips the figure is 55%. This doesn’t take into account the opposition, the number of individual goals or level of technical ability of either player, but it’s the best proxy I can find for your criteria of being “more important” if you think that the most important thing is winning games of football.

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One Play-Off: First Leg Photo bt Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Just to say I love your podcasts they’re among the best I’ve heard.

Do you have any idea when we will be able to watch our beloved team at the SOL?

So again thank you so much.

James Walton

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Hi James, thanks for the feedback. I’m really glad you like our podcasts - we certainly enjoy making them.

Unfortunately, with the increase in coronavirus cases, the Government’s preference for theatres and grouse hunts over football clubs, the bizarre inconsistency that means clubs can have fans into their hospitality suites to watch the games but can’t let them into the stands, and the unspeakable mess that’s been made of the £12bn Serco test & trace system, means we probably won’t be able to get back to our seats any time before the Spring.

In the meantime, we’ll keep the pods coming!