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Fan Letters: Sunderland fans bemoan EFL decision as well as club’s poor planning

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In today’s Fan Letters, readers bemoan the EFL’s decision to curtail the season and argue that the club’s lack of planning has left Sunderland in this difficult situation. What do you think? RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

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

Dear Roker Report,

I find the decision to curtail the season in league one a complete disgrace and against all moral integrity the sport has. Some clubs have voted today purely because they are gaining an unfair benefit of promotion, play off place, or safety of league one status without having to kick another ball. Any club who has voted to end the season should have made their decision on corronavirus safety concerns only. Those clubs who have voted against completing the season yet play on with incentives (only gained by manipulation of voting process) should be charged with gaining an unfair advantage no different to that of players taking performance enhanced drugs.

Yes I get that club’s are facing financial difficulties at the moment but so was Bury at the start of the season. They should have been allowed to compete as they were not bankrupt until after they were kicked out of the league. They were not even given a fair chance to compete because of fears that they may not be able to financially complete the season. Does this mean that the club’s who have voted financially to end the season be treated the same as Bury because in the eyes of the law they have failed to complete the fixture list where as Bury have not been afforded the opportunity. Football made it’s name through fair competition excitement and that is why fans pay for it.

The rules are there for all to follow and whilst they is always going to be cheats the efl must stife for equality. To change the rules halfway through the season to benefit clubs differently shows one rule for one and another rule for someone else. At least fifa didn’t intervene with the football fixtures when they were profiteering out of unfairness. Disappointed at todays decision is an understatement, the league should have been completed when safe to do so, those that can’t complete their fixtures need to be treated equally and fair, after all lot’s of business are going bust and people are losing their job’s.

Johnny McVittie

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Johnny, as much as I’m disappointed with the decision, and the subsequent loss of a chance of promotion, I think we’ve basically shot ourselves in the foot here. I agree with much of what you have said - Wycombe’s mixed messages, for example, were particularly frustrating - yet a couple more victories this season would have seen us in a position to fight for promotion. I know that this isn’t the best way to finalise a season, and Sunderland stood a decent chance of finishing in the playoffs, but like you noted I’m also not sure that some of the smaller clubs in this league are in a position to start the season up again. It’s interesting to see the EFL note that football at this level needs a “reset” and that both salary caps and squad limits are being seriously considered. Thanks for writing in!

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

Dear Roker Report,

So it’s a third season in Division one, and who is really surprised. A chancer at the helm, along with his political cronies, who obviously have not got a clue. Shocking mismanagement has been our keyword for years, with this lot now being known as the worst of the lot. UNLESS, and it seems unlikely that a billionaire rides to the rescue, I fear the lies, bragging and misappropriation of our club and funds will continue. We all know things will dramatically change in the wake of Covid, but SD MUST MOVE ON AND QUICKLY.

Pat Wisbach

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Pat, I think it’s fair to note that the club have lacked direction and leadership since the end of the 2018-19 season - possibly because there were one or more offers for the club that seemingly didn’t come to fruition. I think the big worry at present is that the EFL are exploring implementing a salary cap of £2.5 million per year and sunderland spend 4-5x that amount at present. The owners will have to drop their asking price in order to push through a sale - the playing field could well and truly be levelled next season and that could well put buyers off.

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

Dear Roker Report,

I hope you all are well. It is unfortunate how the season ended, but I tend to agree that we did not deserve promotion. I do think one point should be made clear: we did not fail at gaining promotion due to lack of spending, we failed to gain promotion because of poor coaching or poor recruitment or both. Coventry City played with a number of academy products, loans, and a sprinkling of inexperienced signings; they did wonderfully. If one looks back over the league the last five years, hardly anyone has spent money on transfers, those teams that did so only did so after selling players. I think we have to be honest in identifying where we failed. We do not seem to have a model or system on how or why we recruit a player for the team, and I think it will be unfortunate if we gain promotion back up the leagues without learning the lesson we should have learned after the last few years of being in the Premiership.

Colter Lasley

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Colter, I couldn’t agree more; I feel like this is a drum I have been banging for what feels like an eternity. You’re right: “We do not seem to have a model or system.” From top to bottom, throughout the club, it feels like we have lacked a deliberate, focused plan that will steer the club in the right direction. The jump from Ross to Parkinson is a great metaphor for this because the change in play was an enormous gamble to take. Simply put, we need someone to create a detailed plan that clarifies people’s roles and expectations. Thanks for writing in!