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Fan Letters: “I fear that we are now becoming a mediocre League One side” says Sunderland fan

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In today’s fan letters, it’s almost like we’re back to normal as Roker Report readers share their views on Sunderland’s tactics, team selection, streaming passes and transfers! What do you think? Let us know: RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

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

Dear Roker Report,

I’m not sure if I am watching the same game as most who thought we played well against Hull. I seen no difference in our play that resulted in 8th place finish last season. Parky seems to think that starting with Hume, Dobson, Power, O’Nien, the across middle is the key to success as proved many times last season, then you ride your luck that our forward line will put away any chance that comes along. As we seen on Saturday, [it] will not happen due to poor quality strikers.

Let me say that we were playing a very poor Hull side, and our midfield was very exposed and we won’t be so lucky against most of the sides we will come across especially when we have to go through this season without Jon McLaughlin, who indeed is a far better keeper than the two we have now.

I fear that we are now becoming now a mediocre League One side and will be for a long time with this current regime, my heart is breaking to think not long ago we would have laughed some of the sides who we are struggling against. I don’t believe we have the ability or finances to improve anything from last season . A takeover is a must ASAP and my die hard friends who follow us far and wide can smile again, I wonder if some at the club feel the pain every game? It it is an unusual feeling, like losing a loved one every week.

I believe that Tuesday will most likely to be relatively the same starting line up and result will be the same lack of goals, no control in midfield and suspect defending . I would love to be proved wrong and I will gladly take my lashing.

Jeff Angus

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Chin up, Jeff, it’s only been one game. And in that game we had 17 shots with 6 on target, compared to Hull’s 7 shots with 1 on target. We dominated possession, demonstrating that control in the midfield wasn’t that much of an issue, and Grigg had a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside in the second half. Hull, let’s not forget, have just come down from the Championship and have added players over the summer that most of us would have been happy to see sign at the SOL.

Yes, there wasn’t wholesale changes across the park, but then again we’ve not had a massive squad rebuild over the summer and most managers would look to maintain some consistency in team selection, style and formation after such a log time out.

I’m going to stay optimistic, hoping that - with one or two further signings to bring in some pace and flair - our quality will be too much for most teams. One of us - probably both of us - will be wrong, but that’s the joy of football!


Dear Roker Report,

My original purpose for writing this message was to inquire about alternatives for international streaming of SAFC games, which I have used since the 2017-18 season, after Black Cats fell into League 1. The team site was very slow to provide information, but it did appear today.

So I signed up again, at £140, an increase from the £110 of the 2019-20 season.

I became an international supporter of the Black Cats during the 2013-14 season and have persevered ever since. During the Premier League seasons, Sunderland games were occasionally available among the NBCSN telecasts. It will not surprise you that in the network’s highlights programs, Black Cats’ games were often at the end, as I waited and waited. Thanks to all the Roker Report, Roker Rapport, and Wise Men Say volunteers for the continuing flow of information about Sunderland football.

Looking back to 2013-14, I chose Sunderland primarily due to Alf Wight (a/k/a James Herriot), whose ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ books, and TV series, I have enjoyed very much. Mr. Wight, though raised in Glasgow, was born in Sunderland and supported his father’s club throughout his life. The drive up from his veterinary practise in Thirsk was about 50 miles, and Mr. Wight attended many matches at Roker Park.

Another factor may have been that Josy Altidore was a Black Cat at the time. Despite his lack of success with Sunderland, Altidore had done very well as a U.S. international. Josy did leave the North East productively, in the trade for Jermain Defoe!

Thanks very much for your continuing good work.

Mac Craig

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Hi Mac, it’s nice to hear an international fan’s story. I still find it amazing every time we hear from and meet Sunderland fans who’ve chosen to support the club from afar, rather than inheriting it through family tradition or living locally. Exiles like you and I are going to be getting much the same viewing experience as season ticket holders this year, at least to begin with, and we here at Roker Report and Roker Rapport keep doing best to give the fans as much coverage of the goings on at the club as we can. Keep the faith!

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Please can you tell me why we are not having a look at Marcus Maddison?

He’s Sunderland through and through, and sitting at home doing nothing.

It was only last year we were willing to pay money him and now we could have him for nothing - mmmm... strange.

Paul Huntley

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for your letter, Paul. Your guess is as good as mine to be honest. We do sometimes hear things on the grapevine, but there’s nothing to suggest the club are moving for Maddison at this stage. With so many footballers out of work, and the limitations on spending brought in by the EFL, I can imagine that Parkinson and those involved in recruitment might be looking for younger and cheaper options, as he’s likely to be demanding top dollar given his proven track record at this level.

But it still wouldn’t surprise me if something did materialise in the next few weeks as players scramble for clubs and their wage demands become more manageable for League 1 sides like us.