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Fan Letters: Why the academy is so important, plus why was Storey ignored?

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From the importance of the academy to the current owners’ motivation for ignoring William Storey’s ‘bid’ – with a bit of Star Wars thrown in for good measure – we’ve had a host of letters concerning off-field issues at the club.

Olympique de Marseille v Olympique Lyonnais - Ligue 1 Photo by Dave Winter/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Happy new year to you all.

2021 is going to be a turning point in the club’s fortunes – the building blocks to do this are now being put in place.

For so long the club has been badly ran in every way, and now a much-needed new approach to take the club forward has started.

The new young regime will be like a breath of fresh air to the club, and will replace the stoneage scouting system and whole academy setup.

This great club has to get back to bringing and giving young talent a chance to shine again, not wasting millions on has-been journeymen just aiming to make a quick buck out of the club.

Of course we all understand that players and young talent has to be sold on – but not for peanuts.

Everyone take care and here’s to a 2021 of success and a change of fortune for the club.

Mark Wild

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Happy new year to you, too Mark!

It’s certainly nice to be ushering in the new year with a bit of hope and positivity, isn’t it?

You’re spot on – the key to getting us heading in the right direction is investment in the recruitment and academy side. Hopefully we’ll see evidence of this soon after the takeover is approved.

The major thing for us as supporters is to have patience with young players, and understand – as you say – that players will be sold on. As long as there are players waiting in the wings it’s fine – and hopefully, one day soon, we’ll be in a position to keep those players unless the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid come calling!

New Sunderland Manager Press Conference
Part of Kristjaan Speakman’s remit will be to ensure the academy is delivering first team players.
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Happy new year to you and all the readers.

While delighted we are to be taken over, and by someone who by all accounts is a shrewd operator, the words of the drinks owner who appeared to have a failed bid are if true, a little worrying,and could do with addressing.

Firstly why was he considered a non starter, when (allegally) funds, plans etc were in place?

Secondly, why are SD and CM still allowed at SAFC?

They, according to him, are sucking on the teat of our club, still talking monies after everything they have done, and obviously hope to cash in if we hit the Premier again.

Was the Dreyfus deal made only if they could retain some booty?

Let’s hope he sees straight through them and gets rid. This is (another) opportunity for SAFC to get it right, fingers crossed it’s happens this time.

Pat Wisbach

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Happy new year to you as well Pat. Let’s hope it’s a successful one!

In terms of the drinks fella, I think Ian Bendelow’s excellent article that was recently published on the site gives you all of the answers you need as to why Mr Storey’s interest was – rightly – taken with a pinch of salt. He’d have been a long-shot to have passed the EFL owner’s test, as well.

If, as Storey suggested, he’d bid more than Dreyfus, then surely Donald and co would have accepted that if they were purely motivated by the ‘booty’ on offer. Donald said in the statement announcing the deal that Dreyfus’s plans offered more for the region as a whole, and hopefully, that is the case.

Ideally, Donald and Methven wouldn’t be involved in any future deal in any way, shape or form, and the announcement didn’t mention any future involvement – it just said Dreyfus had purchased Donald’s controlling interest – so the details remain to be seen.

However, if Donald and Methven retain a minority shareholding and have little to no involvement in the running of the club, I think in the grand scheme of things it’s pretty irrelevant. I hope we can all draw a line under it and focus on what’s important rather than getting obsessed with any involvement they have. People have interests in all manner of businesses, and if they end up making a bit of money due to our success, then it’s far from the end of the world!

New Sunderland Owner Stewart Donald Press Conference
Pat wonders whether Donald only made a deal with Dreyfus to ‘retain some booty’
Photo by Sunderland AFC/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Are we becoming the club of hate? I’m asking Sunderland supporters.

On one side the RAWA, or as I have come to call them the Rebel Alliance, named after the Star Wars, movie, fighting the Evil Empire (Stewart Donald) and Darth Vader (Charlie Methven).

Then we have the loyalists – or as I was told the tribelists – supporters of the owners.

Even the good news of a new owners have failed to dampen the hatred.

After the new owners were announced the (rebels) seemed to be happy with the idea, but an undertone of if you don’t please us, we will be back speaking for all Sunderland fans...

Which is what the (tribelists) have a big problem with.....

Do we need all this as Sunderland fans?

After all we are all Sunderland fans wanting the best for our beloved club.

So how did we come to this...

This is my view in summary.

Stewart/Charlie took over.

They said the Premier League parachute money will pay for most of the takeover.

They sorted out a lot of the issues like the seats and the overpaid players all seemed good. But then no promotion.

All then went pear shaped. The owners failed to secure new investments on a few occasions and then got a loan on the SAFC assets which was a major concern. (Also writing off some of the parachute money.)

On the other side of the coin the (rebels) demanded they leave and it read as they were speaking for all Sunderland fans.

There’s been the Coronvirus, and now with a new manager and hopefully a new owner maybe it’s time for us to come together and support the team.

No more rebels or tribelists just Sunderland football fans wanting the best for SAFC.

Let’s be a team of HOPE not a team of HATE.

Kevin Ruxton

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your email, Kevin. I must admit I know nothing about Star Wars so you lost me a bit! However, I completely agree with your final sentiment – I hope we can look forward to a positive future, and the ‘hate’ as you term it is a thing of the past.

Going forward, I do think RAWA has a key role to play in constructively and ‘officially’ holding the club to account – I don’t think we should blindly accept everything without question – however, I do think it’s important this is led by RAWA, and done in a measured, balanced way. That way we can hopefully repair and then avoid reopening the divisions we’ve seen emerge within the fan base over the past couple of years. We’re all on the same side, and ultimately want the same thing!

Olympique de Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1
Kevin hopes KLD’s arrival will unite the fan base
Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images