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Lincoln City v Sunderland - Papa John’s Trophy EFL Trophy

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Fan Letters: “I was impressed by Sunderland’s Ollie Younger” - and best wishes to George Forster

Birthday wishes for George Forster, questions about Ollie Youngers’ future, & reaction to the Mags’ big news - all in today’s mixed mailbag of fun! Got something to say? Email: rokerreport@yahoo.co.uk!

Sunderland’s Ollie Younger, left, and Kenton Richardson, right, during the Papa John’s EFL Trophy Group match against Lincoln
| Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Money of course is vital for success in football, but it isn’t everything. Would SAFC fans really be happy if we were taken over by people using Saudi Arabian money, or would we not care where it came from as long as we got it?

Mick Colman

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for your letter, Mick. It’s a question each individual football supporter, red & white, black & white or otherwise, needs to be asking themselves right now - it’s a matter of priorities. I dealt with this question in summer 2020 in the article below when we were the subject of potential takeovers, and came down on the side of not wanting to have anything to do with human rights abusers.

I walked away when we had a fascist manager, and so I’d do the same if we had fascist owners. As it is, we’ve landed a progressive and forward thinking sion of a European business dynasty with long established links to football. There are one or two Newcastle fans who take this same view, but they’re in a tiny minority - even their Supporters’ Trust.

The whole notion of states - particularly despotic, undemocratic, mysoginistic, homophobic, repressive, murderous, states - owning football clubs is one that UEFA and the FA should look at very seriously and urgently. I strongly suspect the Saudis, encouraged by our own authoritarian right-wing government, have bitten the commerical bullet regarding TV piracy to get into the Premier League sportswashing game before the Crouch Report is released and the way football is governed in England is properly reformed.

Hull City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One - KCOM Stadium Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The mag love-in on social media has made me delete the app. Shameful bias from so-called impartial journos. Arsewipes.

Carl Graham

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Don’t get me started, Carl... Oh, go on then... Journalists are not meant to be impartial, they are meant to tell the truth as they see it and not to omit or gloss over uncomfortable facts. The lack of solidarity with one of their own profession who was brutally murdered and dismembered by agents of the now owner of Newcastle United shown social media by some local and national hacks on Thursday with their fawning and uncritical reporting and, worse still, back-slapping celebration, is truly shameful. That’s what fan media is here for - Mag fanzines are free to do the celebrating, the professional accredited media should do the reporting.

Standards across the press have fallen so far in recent years, largely due to cuts in the workforce and the need to drive traffic to sites to gain advertising revenue, but it does make you treasure those few morally aware writers out there in the mainstream press who will actively question, probe and investigate, rather than pander to their audiences and the clubs they rely on for stories to generate easy clicks.

I say this is as someone who used to work for the National Union of Journalists; I know the challenges those working in the media industry face - and these are best met by serious, high-quality, innovative, and principled writing and broadcasting of the kind produced by Newcastle fan Alex Thompson of Channel 4 News, Miguel Delaney of the Independent or Jonathan Liew of the Guardian. We need more of them.


Dear Roker Report,

Happy birthday to George Forster! SAFC legend through and through, 95 years young on Thursday. I used to travel on the Supporters Club buses in the ‘80s and George was great craic even back then. Glad to see he’s still fit and firing. Sunderland hero.

Gary Foster

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks so much for this note, Gary, from what I can tell he’s had a lovely birthday and the club and Branch Liaison Council have looked after him as well as they always do. George is part of the fabric of our club, someone my family have known for many decades, and a dear friend to so many generations of supporters. He’s a one off, and we all treasure him. Happy birthday indeed, Mr Sunderland!


Dear Roker Report,

I was down at Lincoln on Tuesday and I was mightily impressed by Ollie Younger, who looks more accomplished as a CB than some of the other jokers we’ve had in recent years. Trouble is, he’s nowhere near the first team. Shouldn’t we let him out on loan? It’s sad but I don’t see a way into the senior setup for him just yet, and that’s not a slight on him, cos he’s very talented. Maybe a stint with a Conference team would be best.

Dean Bewers

Ed’s Note [Rich]: A loan move might be a good thing for Ollie Younger, Dean, but then there’s a lot to be said for allowing him to work with the coaching staff at the Academy of Light and using the Trophy to give him gametime in men’s football. With all of these decisions, its a balance involving personal circumstances and the needs of the squad. We’ve seen with Elliot Embleton the benefits of the loan system, but we’ve also seen with Dan Neil the advantages of keeping players close to home. I really do trust Kristjaan Speakman and Lee Johnson to make the right calls on player development issues.


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