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Fan Letters: Supporters ‘disgusted, speechless and embarrassed’ at ‘awful’ Sunderland

As you can imagine, it’s not a happy mailbag this morning. Got something to get off your chest? Send us an email. It’s cheaper than therapy.!

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

That was the worst second half of the season after an awful first half. Can we please have some honesty about the side and the manager.

Firstly we have Grant Leadbitter, who is overrated as he did OK at the start of the season and we all like him as a person. He was so bad that he should not be in the team from the start. His legs as we already know have gone, can only play at too slow a pace if you give him lots of room and time. Unless you run into him, he would not catch any player in any team in any league.

Why does our manager believe that Burge and Matthews are better than Patterson? You would not offer either of them a contract so start the lad we are likely to keep. They both give no confidence to the team.

Vokins looks worse than McFadzean if that is possible. Sanderson, McLaughlin, O’Nien or even Flanagan are better than both, so play them.

O’Brien gives the ball away and can’t get away from his man. He offers very little yet plays every minute.

The manager needs to be held accountable for clearly not knowing his players and making poor decisions.

Not starting some legs in a two man midfield in this league is criminal. Grant had his best 25 minutes at MK Dons in the cup when the opposition had tired. He can only play in a three man midfield from the start where others do his running.

Luke and Dan Neil should be starting games in a team where the front wide players are poor defenders and you are outnumbered in the middle.

Scowen, although poor, is a better option for his energy than Grant.

Why was Jones substituted and O’Brien left on? Gooch was less effective than Jones.

McLaughlin should have replaced Vokins and that would have allowed Luke to play in midfield or further forward, as he is one of only three players who is likely to score (Wyke and McGeady being the others)

He was wasted in a back 3.

The balance of the team was a joke in the last 15 minutes and we only created because they probably couldn’t believe they were going to win and got nervous.

We are the worst team in the football league for playing awful after taking a lead. Why can this not be addressed?

I could understand sitting back if we score in the last five minutes but we go backwards with 85 minutes left. The players should be dropped if they don’t remain on the front foot.

For me Grant and Power are key players in this as they think we should take the sting out of the game. What they and others seem unaware of is the fact that the players aren’t good enough to pass it around in our half and as a result we invite pressure and give up any momentum we had.

We are going to be in League One again next year and now the salary cap has been removed we need a wholesale clearout as the current squad are just not good enough.

If they had fans in the ground they would been slaughtered.

Peter (angry and disgusted)

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Agree with the vast majority of what you’ve said there Peter. Leadbitter simply can’t play in a two, and I can’t understand Johnson’s insistence on doing so. It leaves us so exposed in midfield. Patterson needs to be given a shot – Burge will only ever be an average League One keeper and Matthews is just dire, and both are likely to leave come May. Vokins, too, has been incredibly poor since his arrival – not sure what we’ve seen in him to suggest he’s capable of playing at this level, he looks way out of his depth.

Johnson’s got to face some scrutiny as well. He’s had almost as many games as Parkinson had this season, and has taken a solid but unspectacular side just needed a bit more attacking flair, and turned them into this unstructured, unmotivated rabble. He’s got rid of the back three far too quickly and has seemingly sacrificed this season to try and implement his long-term preferred style of play straight away.

I’m not for one minute saying Johnson’s position should be under threat – the constant chopping and changing of manager is one of the reasons we’re down here – but he’s got to step up now and prove he’s capable of managing Sunderland because what he’s shown so far has been very, very disappointing.

And, to your final point, they’re probably very thankful that there aren’t any fans in at the moment. Because the full-time reaction last night wouldn’t have been good.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Johnson must be held accountable, says Peter
Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m just DISGUSTED, DISGUSTED, DISGUSTED. Speechless, speechless, speechless. I have got more passion in my you-know-what than these useless, useless, useless players. How can they go to sleep? I’m sorry to say it my friends, it’s an embarrassment, embarrassment, embarrassment.

Tonight I can’t even look at my wife I’m so embarrassed.

Play the young boy Patterson on Saturday. Better still, play McGeady with the under 23s.

What on earth did the new owner think of that? He’ll probably change his mind after watching that rubbish on the pitch.

You know what the problem is? The players think that they are better than their opponents because they play for Sunderland.

You have to work hard to achieve anything in life. Every team that we have played this season look fitter, hungrier and quicker.

Perfect start again tonight, and what did they do? Stopped playing instead of trying to kill the game off.

Great stadium and facilities and can’t do it for 90 minutes.

Still, we live and hope.

Anthony DeGiovanni

Ed’s Note [Martin]: I’m hoping the phrase ‘the darkest hour is just before the dawn’ rings true because last night was horrendous. I think it’s been a tipping point for many who’ve given the players some benefit of the doubt because of the new manager, COVID etc. But ultimately, the players have to accept responsibility and last night was worlds away from what the minimum expectation should be. As for Patterson, absolutely agree. Matthews did what Matthews does last night – makes a mistake that led to a goal. In fact, he was very, very lucky not to give another away, wasn’t he. As you say, we live in hope. Hopefully, Louis Dreyfus can provide some.

Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet League One
Should Patterson be given a shot in goal?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Just been on Sky News that the salary cap on League One and Two has been removed. This has to be good news for all concerned. So, once the takeover is completed, our budget plans could get us out of this lower league

Malcolm Donnison

Ed’s Note [Martin]: About time too, Malcolm. The whole salary cap debacle sums up the EFL at present – they’re a joke of an organisation. I actually agree with a salary cap in some form, relative to turnover and across all divisions. Otherwise, it’s simply unworkable. Its purpose should be to ensure the survival of clubs, not level up the playing field as was the intention of many of those who voted for it – Accrington’s chairman for example. He saw the opportunity to increase his club’s chances of going up and grabbed it under the pretence of something else. If a club owner wants to ensure their club is operating within its means, then they are the only ones who can do so anyway, so just do it! Anyway, I don’t think we’ll see much splashing of cash when the takeover is confirmed, but this news will enable us a bit more wriggle room as far as salaries go – and may help us retain the likes of O’Nien, Hume and Willis.

Dear Roker Report

The Will Grigg “debacle” shouldn’t be too much of a surprise & was doomed to fail before it even started.

Unfortunately he was / is a statistic of how modern day football now operates. Read any of the brilliant “DurbanTomorrowNow” tweets & you can understand just how different football now is. These were times & apologies for being a nostalgic old fool here, when players spoke to managers before joining clubs. Managers watched the player & knew that player would fit into the team, the system.

Nowadays we have recruitment departments “selecting” types & that player may meet the manager on the day he signs. He may, otherwise the first introduction will be on the training pitch.

Ross did not want Grigg, that was abundantly obvious from the Netflix documentary , however our inept chairman was on his ego trip, having completely messed up the Maja saga. I wonder how much we’d have saved in fees had we given Maja a contract in August slightly over and above what he wanted?

Allied to not being what he wanted , Sunderland under Ross & Parkinson never played to his strengths. I also believe when we signed him, he wasn’t fit. It’s also worth noting, he wasn’t a regular starter for Wigan before we signed him, Paul Cook at the time stating that he was playing a different style & system which didn’t really suit Grigg.

The player himself has to take some responsibility. He didn’t want to come & never moved to Wearside. Again this in the modern era is a major mistake in my opinion. A player should live within a 30 mile radius at least, 200miles is just ridiculous.

Grigg isn’t the first nor will he be the last. I suspect he’d like a permanent move away from Wearside & from our perspective another poor recruitment decision , something Methven & Donald vowed to put right. Remember local players, hungry players, piss taking party stopping?

Where are Bali Mumba, Sam Greenwood, Joe Hugill, Logan Pye??

Paul Wood

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for your letter, Paul. We’re all for the nostalgia here at Roker Report, but Sunderland ‘Til I Die isn’t something I’ll be re-watching and time soon. You’re absolutely right about how Donald messed up that January transfer window big-style. I don’t think we had a proper recruitment team in place until about 6 weeks ago, which probably explains how Maja, Mumba, Greenwood, Hugill and Pye came to be sold, and we certainly shouldn’t have paid £3 million for a lad from Wigan’s reserve team.

But let’s hope that now he’s found a home back down in Milton Keynes we can all turn a page, we can focus on youth yet again, and the new lads do us a job for the rest of this term.

Dear Roker Report,


Looking at the Premiership league table the surprise is the position of West Ham, managed by our No 1 failure, Moyes. How can an individual who was totally useless at Sunderland, probably our worst manager ever, improve so much?

It brings the comment of Poyet to mind about there being something wrong at our club. Is it some sort of curse or just the pathetic management of the club that has been in place for many years? Others will no doubt have a view.

Looking at tonight’s game against the Shrews doesn’t fill me with confidence.

There will as ever be some really good opinions expressed on the forum regarding the team selection and the tactics to be employed. To be honest I am unusually lost.

This lead me to think about the players available and the conclusion I have come to, which I have expressed for a number of seasons, that is that the majority of the players are just not good enough. In fact, if O’Nien is removed along with 2 pensioners (Leadbitter and McGeady), and an improving Goal scorer, Wyke, we have a pretty poor squad. I suppose that conclusion has been arrived at by comparing the present players with others that we have seen in previous years, along with their individual performances on the field

Donald bears much responsibility by his stupid and irresponsible action in him interfering in the transfer market, with the money wasted on Grigg, bringing about restrictions on the Managers since that time. Ross was sacked for not providing promotion when the real culprit was Donald. It is my often expressed opinion that the club will not improve until he and his cohorts disappear completely from the scene.

I was born at a time when SAFC was at the top of English football, winning the league one season, and the FA cup the next. I would love that to be the case before I take my leave from this planet.

I dread every day the thought that we get promoted and become a yo yo club from the Championship, and I say this with conviction unless there is a substantial improvement in the quality of players, that may well be the case.

Fingers crossed any new owner will quickly bring about the changes necessary because the present situation is not good for my mental health - HA!

Mordey St

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for your letter, Mordey. We may be on the cusp of a new era in the club’s history, and we’ll be able to start to put Donald’s tenure as custodian of the club behind us. Despite the bitterly cold winter we’re having, spring isn’t far off, and who knows, by the end of May we may be looking forward to a new start in the Championship. With a billionaire owner and a manager who knows what he wants on the pitch, there could be sunshine ahead. Keep the faith, and keep safe.

Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report

We are getting told time after time regarding the take over and it will not be long before it happens. There must be serious problems if the clowns who run the english football league are having doubts and wanting more guarantees off the fly by nights who own our club.

For once it would be nice if we were told the truth where the problem lie. So come on, give us some meat on the bones about this fiasco.



Ed’s Note [Rich]: Hi Joe. Here’s a bit of meat for you and the rest of the frustrated fanbase to munch on. From what we know, the delays are more to do with the capacity of the EFL to deal with multiple things at the same time than with the financial guarantees required of any of the proposed owners. We all hope we won’t have to wait much longer for this saga to be over - Dreyfus was at the game last night, which certainly bodes well.

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