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Fan Letters: “From Dortmund model to Sports Direct model” - Bali Mumba sale reaction

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RR readers Jay & Craig are NOT happy with the way Sunderland have handled Bali Mumba’s development and then subsequent sale to Norwich City for a paltry £350k... let us know what you think: RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

Norwich City

Dear Roker Report,

The owners should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. The sale of Bali Mumba, future club captain, shining jewel of the Academy and future England star being sold for £350k (perhaps rising to £750k) is an embarrassment.

Exeter City (in league 2) got £1.3million potentially rising to £2.5million for 16yr old Ethan Ampadu. That amount was awarded by a compensation committee who aren’t even associated with Exeter so don’t exactly fight for the best price, and Exeter had the audacity to be disappointed.

For our owners to be happy with £350k for a signed professional is appalling.

Jay Hughes

Ed’s Note [Gav]: It would be nice to hear the reasoning behind allowing Bali to leave, because to many fans he was the one great hope left in Sunderland’s academy currently when it comes to players who might actually make it to the big time. As a 16 year old he made his first team debut against Wolves, and then started the next games which was our first fixture in League One. After that, however, his development as a first teamer wasn’t prioritised. He slid back down the pole and ended up as an auxiliary right back/attacking midfielder/10 for the U23s, before ending his time as a Sunderland player with a short loan spell at 7th tier South Shields.

They may feel as though Bali’s not developing at the rate he should be, and that could be true, but have Sunderland done enough by Bali Mumba to ensure he headed along the right path? I’d argue, no. We didn’t.

You see the likes of Jude Bellingham leaving Birmingham for big money at such a tender age and can’t help but wonder ‘what if’ - what if we had stuck by Bali in the first team, gave him a run of games, and allowed him to flourish as a first-teamer?

I’d hazard we’d be making more than £350k, put it that way.

Liverpool U23 v Sunderland U23 - Premier League Cup Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

So another youngster has gone for pocket change and the asset stripping of our club continues.

Mumba along with a lot of the other youngsters who were released/let go without a fight should have been in and around the first team squad this year. If we were a prem/championship club they would have been getting loaned to teams in League one meaning they should be able to play for a league one club. However our owners/manager put there faith in a bunch of overpaid journeymen who apart from Wright and maybe Power haven’t been up to it.

Fans have always said one of the things we need is energy and work rate. While the players themselves may not be technical wizards (we’re never gonna mistake them for Messi) they would bring energy and a willingness to work for the team onto the pitch. Think back to beating Wolves 3-0 on the last day of the season. Yes they were on there holidays but Robson started, Hume and Embleton came on. A kid called Molyneux started and actually played well. Yet out of those four only one is a fixture in our first team and Embleton might be but think we all know if any team came sniffing he’d be sold off.

We have went from being a team wanting to follow the so called Dortmund model to following the Sports Direct model - everything must go and at a discount to boot.

Donald is robbing Sunderland not only of its present but also of its future. Our academy produced the Footballer of the year. Now we’ll be lucky to even have one in five years time the way we’re letting everyone leave.

Craig Bowers

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I like the Sports Direct comparison! I think that when you’re trying to earn promotion it’s hard to show faith in youngsters for managers, but when you weigh it up in your head - would Bali Mumba really have been a worse option at full back than Conor McLaughlin? Or Leadbitter in midfield? Easy to say in hindsight, I guess, but all it takes for a player to flourish is if you find a manager who believes in them and knows exactly how to protect them.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light Photo by Graham Stuart/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Why do people think they can play at owning a football club? We’re basically out of the frying pan and into the fire with these muppets. It’s like having Jack Rodwell in control now, we’re a laughing stock! Surely someone out there sees a great club with great fans?Fingers crossed for our club because it’s not looking good.

In this time of Global virus crisis, surely this is the wrong time to sell the club when most businesses are struggling financially. Maybe we should concentrate on what happens on the grass, which is surely what really is the most important issue to gain progress to promotion? It seems to me like the tail is trying to wag the dog.

Ensuring the next owner is the right one for us - who okays this? Should they have to pass an examination by our, so-called, key groups?

It appears the present interested consortiums have nowhere near the financial clout needed.

Michael Hope

Ed’s Note [Tom]: Hi Michael, thanks for writing in. I think the problem here is that it’s going to be difficult to focus on the football side of things if the ownership are actively trying to sell the club - you could make the argument that’s why last season didn’t go to plan. You’re right to highlight the fact that someone perhaps needs to vet any incoming owner, but I’m not sure who that should be? I guess perhaps it’s up to all of us to do our research? Fingers crossed we see a positive resolution.