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Fan Letters: “The abuse of the current owner is nothing short of ridiculous”

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In today’s Fan Letters, Harry Cole is concerned about fan abuse of Stewart Donald, Dave Shaw is worried William Storey may take over, and Robert Averre wants a focus on youth. Got something you want to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk!

Sunderland Press Conference - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

It is time our fans take a good look at themselves, it is no wonder any potential buyers are reluctant to show themselves, the abuse of the current owner is nothing short of ridiculous, notice nothing has been said about half of the £20 million has already been paid back.

I know I am one of only a few who seem to look at things differently, but there have been many good things the owners have done, along with the bad. At least acknowledge these facts.

Stewart Donald is out of his depth, that is clear, does this mean that the abuse he receives on a daily basis is justifiable. No it is not, show your discontent in a practical way, this may ensure a new buyer can purchase the club quickly, without thinking about the negative and vitriolic side of the club.

I tend not see posts like these on your pages so don’t hold out much hope of seeing it anytime soon.

Harry Cole

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for writing in, Harry. The line between what is intended as criticism of those in positions of power based on our personal, and therefore inherently flawed, judgments of the facts as we see them, and what those on the receiving end of the criticism may define as abusive based on the emotional impact it has on them, is hard to define.

I agree, we all have a responsibility to moderate our tone and ensure our words are not inciting hatred or violence. We have all seen things said online - threats of violence, unfounded accusations of criminality, that are beyond the pale. But those in positions of power and who are naturally subject to public scrutiny - like the millionaire owners of large football clubs - cannot expect a free pass when it comes to difficult questions being asked about the way the club is being run by the people who ultimately pay the bills.

It would be churlish not to acknowledge that current owners have done some really positive things; the initial engagement with the fan groups was really productive, the work that’s continued between the club and local charities is fantastic and in recent weeks the club as appeared to make strides forward in terms of changing the recruitment team. The cost-cutting, though painful, has been successful and should stand us in decent stead once a new owner takes over.

On other measures, they’ve undoubtedly failed - we’re still in League One for a start. When the fans groups and fan media have pointed out the inconsistencies in what Madrox has said and what it’s done, they’ve been subjected to pejorative comments about northerners’ lack of business sense and personal attacks on those who’ve had the temerity to scrutinise their financial management of the club.

You’re absolutely right to say that the way our fans conduct themselves matters; I’ve pulled people up on unacceptable comments about Donald’s family and I take my share of responsibility for anything unduly inflammatory I may have written.

I suspect, however, that Mr Donald and his business partners may even interpret you saying that he’s “out of his depth” as being unacceptably abusive. And, moreover, rather than reflecting on and owning their own shortcomings, they seem determined to use the narrative of “abusive fans/fan media” as cover for their ongoing inability to sell the club for their asking price.

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

Dear Roker Report,

Does William Storey live in a fantasy world?

OK, so he can pay the asking price (so he claims), plus £50 million ( again so he claims), but tell me what decent premier player is going come and play third tier football for us and take a pay cut of maybe between £30 thousand £40 thousand a week drop in pay?

I think Mr Storey would be better off buying Disney land where he could live out his fantasies.

In my opinion, if he does take over I think we will be back to the Short era of just throwing money at the problems, instead of trying to sort them. I mean we have no academy manager to run that; god knows what the scouting and recruitment system is like if we still have one.

So, until we start to sort that out we can then maybe get back on track for promotion, and for that we need young hungry players with something to prove not premier league has-beens looking for an easy ride to retirement.

Dave Shaw

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Hi Dave, yes, I think you might be right. If William Storey actually has the money behind him that he claims, if his NDA that he won’t shut up about actually exists, if he is actually the person in a period of exclusivity with the club, then I’d be very surprised.

I can’t escape the impression that his overtures to Sunderland fans on social media are more about getting his name and his brand out there than about any serious plans to buy the club and finance our return to the Premier League.

But I could be wrong, and I invite Mr Storey to write to us to answer our concerns directly - we’ll publish his letter here. So only time will tell.

F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Surely this should be the season should unleash their youth talent I’m sure players like Jack Diamond, Brandon Taylor and Benji Kimpioka. It could save the club money.

They need 1st team football here, not at other clubs - it’s a case of play them of lose them.

I personally don’t feel it’s a risk as the current 1st team players aren’t better than them. managers like Eddie Howe and Nigel Clough wouldn’t think twice about playing them.

Robert Averre

Ed’s Note [Rich]: I couldn’t agree more, Robert. Youth development should be our single biggest focus as a club, apart from escaping League One. It will be really good to see Benji sign-up again for another year and be given more opportunities in the first team, and for Jack Diamond - so impressive on loan at Harrogate - and Brandon Taylor to be given the change to break through in the same way that Gooch and Hume have in seasons gone by.

With the squad salary and size caps coming in, subject to the PFA’s legal challenge, this is surely the time to turn to what’s worked in the past - developing our own players and putting them right at the heart of our side.