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Fan Letters: Are you missing your Sunderland Saturday matchday routine?

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RR reader Anthony DeGiovanni is missing his Saturday matchday routine - “going to the match” isn’t just about watching Sunderland play, after all - it’s the pub, the socialising, putting the world to rights. Got something to say? RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

Bobby Kerr Photo by MSI/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

On the subject of the covid outbreak at the club I have a couple of points, firstly how is it that we were able to field any of our squad from Saturday?

The squad, management and coaches are all surely operating as a “bubble” and therefore if one of those people were to test positive for the virus (which I believe is the case) then the rules set out by government would suggest that the whole squad should have been self isolating for 10 days. How did we justify anything else?

So by definition, the 10 days will have started on Monday and will include the next 2 games as well.

Then to the FA and the rules of the game... it’s obvious that we were able to field 11 players, so without permission from the FA we had to play. But where would the threshold be? How many players that have been lost to illness does it take to justify postponement?

Well, the answer lies somewhere in the rules:

https://www.efl.com/-more/governance/efl-rules—regulations/section-5—fixtures/

Which is suitably vague states that each case would be judged on its footballing merits. However, it also States:

From the fourth Thursday in March, any team sheet for a League game should include at least 10 outfield players who featured on the team sheet for the League game before.”

So I believe that is the answer to my question. If you can’t field 10 from the previous game you can call it off.

I actually count 10 players that were in the squad against Lincoln that played against Wimbledon, so with that I would suggest that we did the right thing in playing the game. Taking our chances with the EFL’s common sense and decency would have been a foolish gamble.

Anthony Richardson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: If I’m totally honest I’m not sure of what discussions have gone on between the EFL and the club, so it’s hard to try and work out what happened, but I think it’s safe to say that the game should never have gone ahead.

The fact that the next three games have been suspended is the right thing to do, of course, but this action should have been taken prior to the Wimbledon game. The decision should have been taken out of the hands of the club.

Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I woke up on Saturday morning and said to myself “how I miss the past Saturdays”... Getting up in the morning, taking my wife to the hairdressers, come home having a bacon sarnie, park the car in town, having a pint (one... driving) pubs full of fans, walking across the bridge, watching the match, coming out and walking across the bridge to the car and go for an Indian takeaway, go home, open a bottle of red wine... a perfect Saturday evening (if we have won).

Now all sports without fans is not enjoyable and with VAR it’s killing goals celebrations, if your finger nail is offside a goal is chalked off. Give me the old times anytime with all the blood, sweat, passion and muddy pitches but not the Baseball ground (sorry Cloughy RIP).

Sport is not enjoyable without fans. It has been nine months since we set foot in our second home and I miss it so much. STAY SAFE STAY SAFC.

Anthony DeGiovanni

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I tried explaining this to someone recently - going to the match isn’t really about watching the football. It’s everything else that goes with it. The socialising, the meeting up for a pint before the match, standing at the back of the stand with my mates and family - if it was just about watching Sunderland we would have given up years ago.

I miss it all dearly, and certainly won’t ever take it for granted once we return to normality.

Sunderland v MK Dons - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Trevor Wilkinson/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

At the risk of upsetting many Sunderland supporters, could someone please tell Kevin Phillips to go away and shut up talking about my club, until he’s got something positive to say. Instead of all the negative rubbish he comes out with week after week.

Having been a supporter of Sunderland AFC for over 65 years, I am aware of the fantastic asset he was as a player. But if it wasn’t for the fact that young children may read these comments, my adjectives to describe what I wish he would do, would begin and end with an “F”.

Constructive criticism of the past I can accept, but not his negativity of the present or for the future.

Yours sincerely

Robert Hall

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I love him! Guess he’s just keeping himself out there.