Dear Roker Report,
Whilst accepting that the League must be the club’s priority, I am delighted to hear that Lee Johnson is taking the EFL Trophy seriously. The reasons for my response are as follows:
I’m 76 and have supported the club since the 50’s. During this time I have been to Wembley 8 times:
1] We soundly beat the then brilliant Leeds United team managed by our former player Don Revie [Dave Watson and Monty were brilliant that day]
2] In 1985 we lost 1-0 to Norwich City in the League Cup [Clive Walker missed a penalty and a young lad called Steve Bruce was Man of the Match]
3] In 1990 we were completely out played by Swindon Town in a Play off Final [Gates and Gabbiadini had scored in the Semi against Newcastle]
4] In 1992 We lost 2-0 to Liverpool in the FA Cup Final [the only tie when John Byrne failed to score]
5] In 1998 we lost on penalties in the Play Off against Charlton 7-6 after the 4 all draw [Sunderland Lad Clive Mendonca scored a hat-trick against us and Gray missed the final penalty]
6] In 2014 We lost To Man City 3-1 [After Borini put us in the lead in a season when Gus’s Miracle kept us in the Premiership]
7] In 2018 we lost 5-4 on penalties after extra time against Portsmouth[ Record crowd of 85,021 for the completion and Cattermole repeated the Gray moment]
8] Again in 2018 we lost 2-1 to Charlton again [the winning goal scored four minutes into added time]
We’ve suffered too often at Wembley and I’d like to be around when we end the losing run before I join Cloughie in a heavenly 5-a-side game upstairs.
A final point is that we must now get some stability into the Club’s Management and a clear long term strategy and style of playing. In our first 75 years as a club we had only 7 managers. In the last 56 years we’ve had 38. If you exclude Alan Brown, Bob Stokoe, Denis Smith and Peter Reid’s tenures we’ve had 34 Managers in 41 years.
Speakman, Johnson and young Kyril present a chance not only of Wembley success but also stability with a long term strategy which our long suffering supporters deserve
Happy New Year
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Alright there Colin. I’ve had a feeling about us and the EFL Trophy all season long, it would be just our luck if the one time we’re not allowed to go is the time we actually win something there. I’ve seen us lose four times at Wembley in my 39 years, so at least you can say you were there in ‘73, eh!
I completely agree with your call for a bit of stability in terms of the management of the club. I hope beyond hope that if this season isn’t a success in the League, that we as a fanbase and the new ownership don’t jump to switching manager yet again. I’m reassured by the fact that we have a Sporting Director with a very clear and detailed idea of the footballing vision for the future of the club should provide us with continuity whatever might happen on the manager front in the years ahead.
Dear Roker Report
Bin Grigg & Graham. Have a look at some of the lower league top scorers.
We signed KEV from a lower team and he never let us down.
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for your note, Bill. Short and to the point - unlike my replies. Looking beyond the obvious names who might not be getting a game in the Championship, and the crocks and has-beens on the free agents list, is what Sunderland’s new data-driven recruitment is meant to be all about. We know that along with Speakman and Johnson, a team of analysts will be employed to find those gems amongst the rough of the EFL and Scottish leagues. When we signed Phillips from Watford back in 1997, nobody knew who he was and you’re absolutely right that this is the kind of signing we’re desperate for right now.