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Fan Letters: “The negativity surrounding the club can be overwhelming”

Lots to be discussed in the RR mailbag - current negativity, the manager’s decisions, the ownership and a lack of atmosphere at the SoL! Got something to say?

Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am writing from my hotel room after the Morecambe game. I live down south, as does my father, who moved down having been a constant presence at Roker Park in the 60s and 70s. In what I’m sure is a familiar story, I’m a Sunderland fan because of him.

My father has been in ill health for a number of years and we arranged to go up this week, knowing that this trip will in all likelihood be the last opportunity we get to watch Sunderland play at home together.

As another letter writer has noted recently, the negativity surrounding the club and the fan base can sometimes be overwhelming. It’s easy to get sucked into it. I accept that I don’t watch the team play every week and I’m sure there are many fans better positioned to appraise the club’s current struggles.

But I’m choosing to take the positives. I don’t know if this will be the year we finally drag ourselves out of League One. It might “only” have been Morecambe. It may not be a greatly significant result in the overall scheme of things. But watching the lads win at the Stadium of Light with my Dad meant the world to me.

Richard Stainbank

Ed’s Note [Sean]: I’d love to tell you what I really think regarding the negativity surrounding the club recently - but I’d be here quite a while and the comments section below may start to get a bit... full.

What I will say is thank you for sharing this with us, Richard. Having lost my father a few years ago now, I would absolutely love to sit in the stadium with him - another constant presence in Roker at the same time as your own father - just once. I wouldn’t care who we were playing either; just to share those moments with him again would mean more than words can express.

I wish you and your father all the time in the world to enjoy many more moments together, no matter where you are; as long as you’re together. All the best.

Roker Park
Never fails to bring back good memories...
Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Re: the anonymous email in Monday’s Fan Letters

People are stating their opinions about the manger, which they have a right to do so, it’s not about the minority putting him down, it’s his decisions picking the team positions they are playing in.

For instance, Gooch at right back, teams are tearing him apart and deliberately playing down his side. Why does he not put Winchester back there? He looks more suited there and as for picking O’Brien at all, says it all.

Some of the under 23s are a lot better. So I don’t think it’s about having a go at LJ because he’s the manager, it’s his selections and tactics most of the time.

Ann Leblond

Ed’s Note [Chris]: Thanks for the email Ann. Managers will get some wrong and some right, even the best in the business admit to making the wrong selection choices once in a while, but we can only go off the basis of where we are.

At the current time this is right in the mix for an automatic promotion place, and this may change, at which point we can asses his performance as manager again, but for now he appears to be getting more decisions right than wrong based on our current position.

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

Dear Roker Report,

For the umpteenth time over the last 10 months, I’ve raised real concerns over the set up of the “new ownership”. A lot more people are now becoming concerned over the secrecy, whenever our owner or his representatives are asked questions over the shareholding and the names of these owners and who actually make the real decisions.

Something here stinks and is not right. How our club is run effects us all and surely we have a right to be given, in plain language, the names of our owners and who makes what decisions. We are given nothing but smoke & mirrors and told nothing. Some people buy that as being “how it is in business”, but it’s not. Only when you’ve got something to hide.

Remember this whole takeover was set up by SD and he and his band of chancers are still lurking in the background, which does not bode well. I can understand the view from RR and most of the forums, wanting to be positive, but surely it’s time now to ask proper questions from our owner and not be fobbed off. We might not like the owners of Newcastle or Man City but at the very least the supporters know who they are, unlike at Sunderland.

We have serious problems with the quality of our squad and this needs to be addressed in January. Only the owners can sort this and that costs money, so where are they?? What was the point of our owner, worth £2000 Million (£2 Billion) buying our club. 1% of his wealth, £20 Million would solve our problem, if spent wisely. I’ll say again, something does not add up.

Merry Christmas to all at RR!

Sam Lucas

Ed’s Note [Chris]: Thanks for the message Sam and I hope you have a merry Christmas as well. I struggle to comment on business matters as I don’t think I know enough on the subject matter to assess it so I have to use layman’s terms that I can follow.

The way I understand it, is that Kyril Louis-Dreyfus (KLD) took over the club and the deal involved the former owners keeping some shares, as they saw from the beginning that they could make some money if we got on a roll, so that made sense because it is likely to make them money at some point.

But I’d imagine they weren’t keen on this being out there in the public domain considering there was a public campaign to get them out of the club.

KLD made it clear from the start he was the majority shareholder and he made the decisions on things such as who sat on the board and essentially all areas were his domain, so nobody else makes the final decision at the club other than KLD. Which he reiterated again recently.

So whether the former owners have 15% or 35% they will have the same zero influence on how the club is run and it would only make a difference if/when things go right. I’d imagine there is a deal in place that may put a time limit on how long they hold those shares, but as I said, I’m not an expert in that field.

As for the £20 million Sam, I’m afraid the days of the “Jack Walker’s” of the world are gone and we can’t go and spend that amount of money if we wanted to. There are rules in place that restrict that and the ideal now is to make the club self-sufficient, which doesn’t include big spending spree’s I’m afraid.

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

Dear Roker Report,

I sit in the North Stand and have done since the SoL opened. In this time I’ve felt the air crackle with the noise made by our fans. Unfortunately the last time I can remember such a great atmosphere was Defoe’s winner against Chelsea!!

No, I have to listen to away fans go through the “songbook” every week.

#1 - “is this a library?”

#2 - “shall we sing a song for you?”

#3 - “your support is f***ing s***!”

I’m not saying I totally agree, but are the acoustics so bad throughout the other areas of the stadium that you can’t hear our fans making much noise at all?

A side point, I waited outside the players entrance after the Oxford game with my daughter who had a thing for Lynden Gooch. This is the second time we have waited for him, the first time he was a no-show. Saturday he appeared and there was a group of around five of us on one side of the exit shouting his name asking him to come over. He simply got his head down and scurried off.

Callum Doyle took nearly 15 minutes getting from the exit to his car as he stopped for the fans. Gooch needs to remember which side his bread is buttered. I couldn’t believe the arrogance and hate to see that in a SAFC player. Bally would have killed him.

As I say, my daughter HAD a thing for him. I will also not defend him to the hilt as I have done for years now.


Ed’s Note [Chris]: For me, the away fans should go back to the South Stand. The flare from the Morecambe fans that fell from above was just one of the many incidents home fans in the North Stand have to put up with and I’d like to see them moved back to behind the opposite goal.

After seeing some of the over-the-top reaction regarding Lynden Gooch following the Oxford game, I can’t say I’m surprised he wanted to get out of the place as quickly as possible.

I’ve seen him be great with fans in the past, and I think Saturday was a bad day for him, which you have to give him credit for how he fronted up on the pitch against Morecambe, it took some guts to be as brave on the ball as he was from the off after the criticism that came in his direction. But I hope he takes a few minutes to say hello in the future, I’m sure he will.


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