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Fan Letters: “I can’t take any more!”

In today’s bumper edition of the RR mailbag, our readers have Phil Parkinson, Stewart Donald, the media and our League One opposition all in their sights. Got something to say? Mail us:!

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

Dear Roker Report,

At his very best, Phil Parkinson will get us to the play offs again. So, if we cannot buy better players, then how about Nigel Pearson as manager?

He would have a clean slate to build the club from the ground up.

It worries me that our rudderless club is left in Parkinson’s hands. We have, on paper, one of the best players in the league [McGeady] – so why is he playing with the u23s? Parkinson should be ashamed – it’s like a child who won’t listen. You just don’t leave one of the best out of your team if you want to improve.

I liked some of the younger kids brought in during pre-season, but the team did not change from the failure of last season. On Saturday we played long balls to the smallest player on the pitch – Parkinson tried that last season and lost 8 in a row.

He’s simply not learned that every team who plays us knows how to play us and his Sunday league tactics.

I hope somebody reads the Nigel Pearson comment and does something – I can but dream.

I, as always support the club. However, I can’t support the current manager’s tactics or attitude.

In hope,

Stuart Scott

Ed’s Note [Rich]: It’s still early doors, Stuart. I agree with many of your criticisms of the team selection and style of play last weekend, although I feel bringing McGeady back into the first team set up would be a backward step and would run against your call to promote the exiting young prospects into the starting eleven.

If there’s one thing that the club needs more than anything else, it’s a bit of stability and our five-year-long experiment with changing the manager has resulted in progressively worse and worse results on the pitch.

However, any new ownership that comes into the club may take a look at the footballing side of the club and wish to bring in their own man - and in that scenario we could do much worse than Pearson.

Dear Roker Report, Whilst waiting on reports to run and waiting upon emails to be acknowledged, work wise, I started to drift off and think about the club and what is going on. Sad, I know, but here we go (said as Heath Ledger’s Joker)

As Saturday against Rovers was a bad start, and fans saying we (those who haven’t fallen for PP personality and charisma) that he still needs more time and wanting him out after 1 is “mag behaviour”…

But as I said and others have pointed out, its not just that one game though. It’s a continuation from the disastrous season that ended on PPG and us finishing 8th, after being 2nd and having a chance at going top but same old Sunderland hit the good ol’ self-destruct button for lols.

It’s clear that we are far from the finishing article and feels that we are papering over the cracks, and saying that we need to be more creative, but it doesn’t feel that the side that starts is set up to play?

Or it doesn’t feel like that is being fixed? Because we do have creative players and they were left on the bench till the 80th minute or left out completely.

Sometimes it feels that our game plan is to wait for the opposition to get tired and let them rule the roost until they have thought, a point or 3 is safe and they let their guard down and us to snatch a point at the death and act like that is ok?

For most we feel that PP has ten or so games left to try and salvage our season (YES – I know how that sounds but we really shouldn’t be happy about rescuing a point at home).

So, The next ten games are as followed:

1- (A) Oxford

2- (H) Peterborough

3- (A) Charlton – last game before the transfer window closes

4- (H) Carlisle ( EFL Trophy)

5- (H) Blackpool

6- (A) Swindon

7- (H) Crewe (EFL Trophy)

8- (H) Pompey

9- (A) Rochdale

10- (A) Gillingham

Take the cups games out and focus on the league we’ll add the home game and Ipswich and then away to Fleetwood town, means by the 14th of November and the home game against MK dons which will be our 11th L1 game. WE should have a decent indication of where we SHOULD be going this season. Anything less than top 6 isn’t acceptable.

With Plodson’s 3 game ban ( with Plodson being as useful as a condom salesman going to a nunnery), watch Scowen come in and control the midfield being that creative spark that we lack and is missing and we comfortably win the next 3, or being more like how our luck is, Scowen gets stretched off inside the first 10 mins and we revert to normal proceedings as we will have 2 likeminded players in the middle of park and we pass back instead of forcing a free kick or corner when in an attacking position.

Time will tell, maybe those who’ve felt PP has outstayed his welcome when he was never actually welcomed in the first place will eat our words and we might actually go on a 45 game winning run in the league, or then again, maybe not.

And if PP was to go, there are names out that could do a decent job here, mainly Paul Cook or the Cowley brothers. But I guess for now, its time to see what SAFC are about and to see if they have what it takes.

Bring on Oxford, right?

Take care


Ed’s Note [Rich]: Hi Hannah, like I’ve said in my response to Stuart, above, I’m personally on the side of stability at the club at the minute, at least on the footballing side and until new ownership is in place. I know from chatting with other Roker Reporters that this is a controversial minority opinion and most want to see the back of Parky as soon as possible. Certainly he doesn't have many games left to get it right before the inevitable happens - again.

Phil Parkinson isn’t an inspirational manager but he’s not terrible at his job. His track record is reasonable elsewhere and he’s made some changes that I fully support, such as integrating the U23s and Senior squad. I think there’s no point in changing manager now when he’s just assembled a refreshed squad, and when we’re told that the club is going to change hands. We can’t even recruit an Academy Director or a Head of Recruitment!

I do agree with you 100 per cent, however, that 6th place is an absolute minimum by mid-November. I also agree that Cook and Cowley should be near the top of the list of potential replacements, along with Pearson and even Gus Poyet, whether this happens due to a change in ownership or a dismal start to the campaign.

Sunderland v Hull City - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

It is very frustrating that direct, to the point questions are never asked when interviewing PP or SD. It’s like everyone in and around the game is on a gravy train and the price of the ride is that NEVER ask a question that will cause embarrassment. A good example is the pathetic way that BBC Newcastle and the fan forums Sidestepped the real issues when given the opportunity to destroy SD credibility.

Simple questions: why did you lie when you bought our club. You said you had the money To buy the club (remember you said you had just found £50 million under your mattress), yet at the first opportunity you used all our parachute money to do this, while you spent nothing. I would look him in the eye and not move on before he answered this question. Let him get up and walk out because he has no answer to that question.

Contrary to whatever spin and BS he puts on it, the club will never see a penny of this money again. It will wind its way back to Oxford

Our club has no money for players, maintenance or anything, yet if SD had not put his hand in our till and removed £25–35 million parachute money, we would be in a great position financially and have the players to walk this league.

Sam Lucas

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Hi Sam. I’m not here to defend the media, and certainly not the way that Donald has managed the money in the club. Whilst journalists working traditional media do have the right to ask whatever questions they want of Parkinson and Donald, as a private business the management and ownership of the club also have the right to not invite that media outlet back the next time. Actions and words have consequences.

It’s a fine balance that BBC Newcastle and the local print media have to strike - Sunderland AFC news is one of the main drivers of traffic towards their content, which pays their bills - there’s a symbiosis to the relationship. They have to be careful not to cut off the hand that feeds them. Call it a gravy train if you like, but that’s the way of the world.

Yes, and good journalist who sees clear and apparent evidence of corruption, malpractice or criminality would look to expose the wrongdoing - but that simply does not exist in this case. Proper deep investigative journalism takes time and money. The expose that led to Swindon being relegated and Sunderland promoted in 1990 took over a year to come to fruition. Our local media has neither of these in abundance, and the national media isn’t too interested in League One.

There are independent sources of media, podcasts such as The Price of Football look into these things twice weekly and Sunderland feature more regularly that we’d hope, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about how the money in football works.

If by “fan forums” you mean outlets like Roker Report - we do our best and we do it for the love of the club. We don’t always get it right, but mistakes are made honestly.

Unlike the Daily Mail, we can’t throw around accusations online in the knowledge that our expensive in house-lawyers will back it up in court.

Dear Roker Report,

Hi, here we go again! It’s like watching last season’s home games again and again.

How the hell do these coaches get their badges?

Forget the first half, Sunderland came out for the second half with the referee shortly behind. The other so-called football team came out 4 minutes later and had the audacity to start warming up with their trainer and the referee did sweet nothing.

This league is the valley of the death - it is horrible, horrible, horrible. Please let us get out of it.

I’m 73 years old and I have never seen teams playing tactics in this manner before. It’s disgusting, time wasting cheats! [We] should have had 20 minutes not 8 minutes so-called injury time.

I’ve just about had enough. I can’t take this rubbish football anymore, but by saying that I will always renew my season card.

Sunderland ‘til I die. Stay safe.

Anthony Degiovanni

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for writing in again, Anthony, and I hope you’re keeping safe too.

It really is crap down here in League One, isn’t it. Teams come to the SoL to spoil the game and it works, and so then next team comes up and does the same. We would do in their same position and laugh all the way home with the away point.

We need to be smarter, and the refs need to be stronger. Our loyalty as fans will, hopefully, be rewarded one day, and we’ll see the club back where we belong.

Keep the faith!

Sunderland v Bristol Rovers - Sky Bet League One
League 1 football - it’s not pretty
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

It’s clear that Lee Burge is not our number one keeper, it must be Mathews.

Also, Josh Scowen had an exceptional game midweek yes Aston Villa U21’s but impressed & not selected Saturday. Why?

I sincerely hope 1-1 doesn’t come back to haunt us; 25 shots on goal, 72% possession - we must kill teams off more clinical in front of goal.

I do think our signings have been well thought-out & [are on] short term contracts, but we still lack pace in the middle of the park.

I also note McGeady is back sorry bad apple in the barrel; get rid, reduce the wage bill. We cannot afford any acrimony in the dressing room & his alleged bully boy approach. Former loanee [Lewis] Morgan [has said] “some players were scared of him”.

Parky, stand up & get shot now - leopards don’t change their spots

Doug Raine

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers, for your letter, Doug. Goalkeepers’ form is notoriously centred around confidence and, until last weekend, I had seen Lee Burge as someone who was very self-assured. He had impressed in the League Cup against Premier League opposition last year and, like many people, I was relaxed about him stepping up to fill Jon McLaughlin’s boots this term. Despite his howler early on against Bristol Rovers, I still think we should stick with him - and Remi Matthews has shown he has a clanger in him too.

As for the midfield, it seems that Josh Scowen may have some personal issues that have impacted on his ability to come into the midfield. We certainly need to do something to turn our dominance into chances in the final third - last week our strikers literally spent the game passing the ball backwards.

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