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Fan Letters: Sunderland fans call for Benji Kimpioka to be given a chance

In today’s fan letters, supporters give their thoughts on the BBC’s Sunderland commentary team, and call for Parkinson to turn to youth after Tuesday’s terrible performance. Let us know what you think -!

Sunderland v Oxford United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

With the Covid situation, the only place that you can hear radio commentary is on Radio Newcastle. Who have we got? Nick Barnes and Gary Bennett.

Now, I believe that they are nice guys, and Gary was a reasonable footballer, but he is an awful “colour ommentator”. Nick Barnes is just about passable as the main commentator. Before I go on, let me tell you what the definition of a “colour commentator” is.

A good “colour commentator” should know when to contribute, and when to remain silent. They should also avoid cliches and truisms, must be able to adapt, and to offer good articulate analysis during any and all situations during the game.

I have listened to Gary many times, and he might as well not be there. In one particular game, he said nothing for 5 minutes, and then later on, asked Nick Barnes if he could say something, to which Nick replied ‘that is what you are here for Gary’.

He also uses the same phrases every week, we need pace, they look tired, they have not started the game. I would ask him to listen to proper colour commentators, like, Andy Hinchliffe, Alex Scott. Karen Carney, Pat Nevin and a host of others, who make him sound like a rank amateur.

Come on Gary, up your game or retire gracefully.



Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for your letter, Goauld. Commentary is a matter of personal preference, I guess, especially when it comes to the co-commentator role. In the end, it’s down to BBC Newcastle to decide who they want to employ!

You’ve mentioned one of my absolute favourites, there, Pat Nevin. What the Americans would call a classic “colour commentator” is really important when you’ve got a potentially national audience that contains lots of neutrals and people not familiar with the performers on the pitch.

I like Gary Bennett too - if you get him talking football in-depth, he’s very knowledgeable. Both he and Nick Barnes know the club inside out and care for it and the people of Sunderland deeply, and I think they bring that familiarity through. I’ve always thought that’s what you need for local “partial” commentators with a specialist, knowledgable audience. It’s a longer-term and more regular relationship.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
A set of Nick Barnes’ famous match notes; the BBC Commentator is always well prepared
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report

I think that Phil Parkinson has run out of ideas.

He has three No.9s, and not one of them any good.

He should give the lad in the under 23 side a chance he is scoring goals since signing a new deal.

Colin Anderson

Dear Roker Report,

The missed opportunities are already piling up. We failed to beat Bristol Rovers at home, should have won at Charlton, were outplayed by a better Portsmouth side & last night was in my opinion dreadful.

The most concerning aspect for me, was Parkinson’s post match interview, he thought we were good, he was happy with our passing & described it as “brave” and he felt we couldn’t have done anymore to win the game!!!

Here’s how I saw it..our passing was one of these three, backwards, sideways or fucking atrocious. Absolutely nothing brave about lumping the ball straight with no angle 50 yards out for a goal kick or into the stands.

We barely worked their goalkeeper. They had the best midfielder on the pitch.

We have no pace or creativity, our bench was like for like.

Rochdale had an 18 year old in defence & goal ...yet our young hope couldn’t make the 18 man squad. Kimpioka is told to prove himself , he’s scoring goals in the u23s, may well not by any stretch of the imagination be the finished article yet he’s different to what we have . No sign of games for Dan Neal, Jack Diamond should always be on the bench as should Kimpioka. What message does there exclusion send out to our academy youngsters ...may as well join someone else that’s what.

We are going absolutely nowhere , and I suspect nor is Parkinson. The takeover cannot happen soon enough, Donald is slowly suffocating the club, our recruitment is garbage & our manager knows one way and one way only.

It’s just not good enough.

Paul Wood

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for writing in Colin and Paul, I hope you’re both keeping safe and well. I can’t disagree at all. After last night’s abject performance - especially from Dobson, Power and Maguire - now is surely the moment for Parkinson to turn to the in form striker Kimpioka, and the talented midfielders Neil and Diamond, in order to bring a new dynamic to our attacking play.

You’re absolutely right too, Paul, the manager is going nowhere under Donald and the sooner we can get decent new owners, the better. But that’s out of our hands, basically.

Jim Rodwell says there’s a seriously interested party, and I’m sure if they’re sensible they will already be looking at at Parkinson’s performance and his management of our young talent closely.

They’ll have to make their own judgments.

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

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