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Fan Letters: ‘It might not always be pretty but at least they are trying hard to get back on track’

Lee Johnson deserves praise for Saturday’s win, says AndoverMackem. What do you think? Email us with your thoughts and we’ll publish in our next edition:

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images,

Dear Roker Report,

I was surprised to see a discussion of the Ellis Short era in the letters section on the 19th November which kept talking about how the club “blindly threw money around” under Ellis Short.

While it’s true that the club often managed to make losses while Short was in charge, Sunderland were hardly throwing money around in that time. A quick look on Wikipedia tells me that our total net transfer spend over the whole Short era was around £25million – or about £2.8 million per season spread over 2009-18. (Caveat: I know this doesn’t count a lot of “undisclosed” fees).

By recent Premier League standards, that hardly counts as throwing money around – in fact, it’s barely a third of what Mike Ashley spent in the same period, and we keep being told by Newcastle supporters that he was miserly.

And it’s true that we kept selling players at a loss under Short – we basically made a loss on every player between Mignolet and van Aanholt – but remember that we made a decent amount of money for the first couple of years of the Short era selling some of the vast numbers of players we’d signed under Keane/Drumaville.

And we made £50 million from two academy products who have been regulars for the England team ever since.

So while we did enjoy some great games in the Short era, let’s not pretend that there’s anything we should miss about the way the old guard were running the club.

Jamie Smith

Ed’s note [Martin]: Thanks for your email Jamie. When Quinn was still chairman we spent a bit more wisely, but according to this, which seems pretty accurate, between 2011/12 (Short’s first full season as chairman after Quinny left) and 2016/17 (relegation from the PL) we spent £156m in transfer fees (not including signing on fees, wages and paying wages to players who’d long since departed the club) – we recouped around £70m as well, but ultimately it absolutely crippled us and is a key reason where we are today. While on average it may not be that much compared to today, over the past five years PL spending has gone crazy. Investing £30m each season for five years should have got us a strong squad capable of competing towards the top end in my view. Spending money’s not bad of course, but spending it on the likes of Rodwell, N’Dong, Fletcher, Altidore etc etc etc was the issue.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Premier League
van Aanholt was one of the few players sold on for a profit under Ellis Short
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Wasn’t pretty, but what a huge win. Maybe the LJ out crew will shut their mouths, for another few days at least... this man deserves time. Give him some credit for managing the victory on Saturday and support the team as they seek more points on the road over the coming days. It might not always be pretty but at least they are trying hard to get back on track.


Ed’s note [Martin]: Massive win, and hopefully it just calms everything down a bit. I’ve said elsewhere on the site today that if we win tomorrow we’re back averaging over 2PPG, which is promotion standard, and a tally the majority of us would have gladly settled for in August. Ultimately, every true supporter wants us to win every time we take the field, regardless of what’s going on on or off the field, so those who voiced concerns over Johnson will be just as happy/relieved with that result as those who have backed him. One result proves nothing, but hopefully it sets us off on a good run!

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One
Get in!
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Hi lads. Just a word for the terrible refs in this league. What the hell is going on where these clowns end up reffing at a decent level??? How bad must the refs be down the leagues if this is classed as “PROFESSIONAL”? Ross Stewart is going to have to be decapitated for a ref at this level to blow for fouls on him.. reminds me of when big Quinny used to get knee’d in the back and refs let it happen time after time.

John Wilson (Coxhoe, 45 years of support)

Ed’s note [Martin]: I’m not sure they all are professional, John, but regardless they’ve been diabolical this season. We got some benefit with the handball penalty on Saturday, but given that we should have had one, if not two, pens in the first half I’m not going to say it wasn’t deserved. I’m not sure what review process is in place for their performance, but by and large the standard we’ve seen this season is horrendous.

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