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Fan Letters: “The start under Lee Johnson has been p*ss-poor, in all honesty” says RR reader Max

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The start under Lee Johnson has been piss-poor, in all honesty. I thought this for the past few weeks, but kept hush on it hoping something would change” writes RR reader Max, who’s not impressed with how things are going.

Sunderland v Port Vale - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Having listened to the match, I don’t think we have the heart in what we are doing.

Start from the goalkeepers - rubbish, Patterson should be given a chance. Leadbitter doesn’t know which way he is kicking at times. As for O’Brien, he just runs about like a headless chicken. Where is Dan Neil?

I have given up getting out of this league.

Colin Lee Anderson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I’m not prepared to give up yet, and I totally understand if people are, but I live in hope that things will click some point soon. We need to stop drawing so many games... this was a problem under the previous two managers, too. We could take losing the odd game if we went on a run of winning too - a bit like Hull have up the top. I’m sure their fans are perfectly content with their form this season!

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

Dear Roker Report,

First time writing in, lifelong Sunderland fan. I have watched every minute of LJ’s tenure at Sunderland, despite the terrible streaming and woeful standard of football.

First off, we simply don’t have the players to implement his ideas and how he thinks we should be playing. Two fairly static forwards, no pace, not great with their backs to goal, nowhere near athletic enough.

In midfield we look one paced, leggy at times, great at sideways and backwards but not great at breaking the lines or producing killer through balls, although a lot of criticism can be placed at the forwards and wide players - no real movement or anticipation.

The defence has been, up until a few weeks ago, fairly solid with Bailey Wright and Jordan Willis, but the new lad Jake Vokins looks out of his depth - he’s always too narrow, is easily beaten in a one on one situation, never really aware of what’s going on around him or over his shoulder.

The two goalkeepers are absolutely dreadful, I would hate being a centre back with either of them behind me. Any cross or shot on goal, and we look like conceding.

LJ has got to change his preferred way of playing because we aren’t capable of a high energy pressing game. Until he gets a couple of transfer windows and gets players in who can do the job, he has to adapt, or basically he will be sacked.

One last point - the standard of officials at this level is pretty dire. As a qualified referee myself I’m watching these games and scratching my head at some of the decisions - some laughable some, just incompressible.

Like all Sunderland fans I’m pretty sickened at the state of our club but, like most, I’m hanging on in there, hoping we turn a corner soon - keep the faith.

Jeff Cooper

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Bang on Jeff. We know Johnson is working with a group of players that was largely selected by previous managers, but he has to adapt, like you say. Playing Grant Leadbitter in a two man midfield three times a week is not what you’d call adapting, eh...

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

Dear Roker Report,

Tuesday’s result seems to have f***ed quite a few people off, and rightly so. The start under Lee Johnson has been piss-poor, in all honesty. I thought this for the past few weeks, but kept hush on it hoping something would change. It’s not different from Parkinson.

To start with, their results are more or less the same. Parky had his big win against Tranmere - Johnson had his at Lincoln. Both of them were riding on them for a while, with people saying they can do it, but we are at a point now with Johnson where he must change his system.

The glorified 442 just doesn’t work. We've got wide players like Gooch, Jones, McGeady, Diamond etc, so why does Johnson think “I’ll put them all narrow now”?.

It makes zero sense at all.

More so that Jones was his signing, and yet he still persists with this narrow formation. Then with the two in midfield, normally we complain we have too much of the ball and do nothing with it, but now we just don't have it at all. Wyke has benefited from playing with a partner, but for the good of the team he needs to go as a solo striker, and with the confidence he has now I think he will be able to.

As for the fullbacks, I don’t want to write Vokins off, but he’s not ready at all. It’s clear to see why Southampton wanted shot of him to get some experience, but at the minute it looks a mistake for us getting him. We miss Hume so much, and while he may not be everyone's cup of tea, he is by far and away better than both McFadzean and Vokins. As for right back - why did we sign a midfielder to replace our current midfielder to go to right back? Just sign a right back to start with. A lot of people were hailing this transfer window, but again I didn't want to be negative and kept quiet, but I really wasn’t blown away by it, and to go as far as saying our best window in years was massively over the top.

Finally, we aren’t going up. That's 100% clear. This squad isn’t good enough. It hasn't been for three years, and it won't be next year either.

From the out of contract players, Hume, Willis, O’Nien, Diamond, Patterson and probably Wyke would stay. The rest can go. A massive overhaul is needed this summer which needs to be planned for starting tomorrow, but until Louis-Dreyfus takes over, no real planning can take place. Until then, Johnson must get play-offs, and we must go up (95% confident we won't though) - if not he has failed, but back him in the summer and hopefully the 4th year will be finally our year.

Max

Dear Roker Report,

Watched that shambles on Tuesday night. Vokins should be sent straight back to Southampton - he’s completely out of his depth. Why did our scientist of a manager take off the two best players on the pitch, and leave the likes of Leadbitter and Scowen on?

Leadbitter is finished and Scowen does absolutely nowt. Why does Scowen start running forward, then stop and run backwards, putting the team back under pressure?

Also, McGeady should have been hooked at half time. No chance of promotion after that show. And the goalies, do me a favour and piss off.

Stephen Brewis

Dear Roker Report,

I don’t write in very often but yet again I am disgusted with my team and ashamed to support them!

Vokins must be the worst left back I have ever seen.

I am nearly 30 years older than Leadbitter but have more pace than him.

Josh Scowen - a midfielder who can’t pass a ball more than 2 yards, and even then it goes to the opposition.

Remi Matthews and Lee Burge... one word, Pathetic!

O’Brien - He was offside and nearly missed a one-on-one from 2 yards! Hopeless.

Max Power played a couple of decent passes to our lumbering front two, but he likes to go backwards more than forwards.

Lee Johnson. Doesn’t play for a draw? Looks like lots of losing matches for the remainder of another League One season.

Play Offs? More chance of winning the lottery.

Philip Wright

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Harsh but fair, I think Max. You won’t find many fans disagreeing with you there. We need a clear out in the summer. Let’s just hope that somehow, by some act of God, we get out of this hellhole of a division this season.

Stephen - not so sure I agree about McGeady. He wasn’t great but by the end he was the only player trying to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Otherwise, you’re fairly spot on. The early signs aren’t great with Vokins - he needs to grow up quickly, or he’ll be a disaster here.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images