Dear Roker Report,
I have been a supporter since 1956 hen my grandfather took me too Roker Park. I had trials as a teenager but didn’t make the grade. The footballers who came through the club in that era would be embarrassed at where we are now.
No ownership. No management. No player’s loyalty - where are the Anderson’s, the Hurley’s, the Harvey’s, the Sharkey’s, the Parke’s, Mcphee’s, Bingham’s, McParland’s... the Roker Roar?
We have a crap team of individuals who are only in it for the money, a manager who ain’t got a clue and an owner who doesn’t want to be here - no wonder club is at rock bottom.
Ed’s Note [Rich]: I feel your pain, John, as I’m sure we all do.
Most of us over a certain age will look back to the way Sunderland were in our youth and think that the grass really was greener (the pitches were pretty awful), the football really was better (sometimes it was) and the beer really did taste better (it really didn’t). And I think everyone knows that professional footballers - especially those on one-year deals - will almost always be in it for the money, and a manager’s lifespan at any club is now a little over 2 years.
But owners who are willing and able to nurture and develop the club over decades, that’s what really underpins a consistently good team on the pitch. It’s up to them to create an environment and an ethos within which managers and players can work effectively. Let’s hope our next ownership, whoever it may be, understands that clearly.
Dear Roker Report,
Hope all are well. How likely does it seem that Gooch or O’Nien might be sold this summer to help finance the club, if, as it seems likely, we remain in League 1? Also, does it seem likely Sunderland finally stops looking at Championship players and starts looking to the lower leagues for signings?
Ed’s Note [Rich]: This is what I really dread happening over the summer. Both O’Nien and Gooch have put themselves firmly in the shop window over the last season and a half or so. We know that “Wor Luke” may be out of contract if an extension clause hasn’t been triggered, and so could leave on a free in a matter of weeks.
We have seen in the case of George Honeyman that even the loyalist players can be sold on by Donald if it means shifting someone off the wage bill and brining in a bit of cash, then find in a replacement or two on half the money.
As clubs scramble around to survive with no income on the horizon, it’s now a buyers’ market for EFL players. Our squad will be very different when football returns, and maybe having the pick of the best League 1 and League 2 has to offer won’t be a bad thing for Sunderland going forward.
Dear Roker Report,
If potential buyers are ‘stopping for breath’ and the League 1 season surely about to be ended then surely SD and JR should be focusing on other important things such as sorting out the contract situation. Just to point out a few, Chris Maguire, Jon McLaughlin, Luke O’Nien and Tom Flanagan. These are all valued members of the team who are all going to walk away for nothing on the 30th June. This has to be sorted as soon as possible. Jon McLaughlin is the first reliable keeper we’ve had in a long time and from what I can gather I think that he wants to stay.
What I doesn’t understand is why SD hasn’t turned to the ‘international consortium’ which was supposed to buy the club in the first place. Was/is there even an international consortium?
Ed’s Note [Rich]: I’ve been asking myself very similar questions recently about the playing squad too; what is it about securing our best players on two year contracts that Donald finds so difficult, if the club is not, in fact, in dire financial trouble?
Off the pitch, we know that the Americans looked into the clubs’ books and walked away from a deal that would have seen Donald pocketing a healthy profit for his 12 months of cost cutting at Sunderland. Yet we were obviously an attractive asset, so FPP Partners loaned a significant sum - £9-£10 million - to Sunderland’s holding company, which is secured against the football club, to ensure that they have effective control over the club’s future. What happens next will be of the greatest importance for the future of our club.