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Fan Letters: Is it time for Johnson to get tough with his inconsistent players?

There are twenty odd games left, so come on Johnson - get them playing, and start kicking some arses” writes RR reader Mark, who wants to see more ruthlessness from the new Sunderland manager.

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

Dear Roker Report,

After last night’s horror show in front of the new owner, every player must have failed to impress him.

I think we will see a mass clear out at the end of the season, and rightly so. That performance sums up the last few seasons in this league of inconsistency of performances - they cannot play for ninety minutes.

The players again have let the fans down, and Johnson’s selection was his first mistake in charge - if you change the keeper, it should have been Patterson, not Matthews, and Power at right back was a big mistake. The man is a midfielder and a poor one at that, so why does Johnson play him at right back... to give him a place? His positioning defensively is shocking.

It is time for players like Gooch to step up to the plate - he has been at the club for years, and so far he has been a big disappointment.

As for Burge, when we lost 5-4 to Coventry a few seasons ago he was atrocious, so why oh why did we sign him? Another big balls up.

All good teams have a strong core, and if we can’t stop leaking goals... well, it’s another season in League One.

Johnson has to start playing with a settled back four and midfield. He chops and changes every week - he has to find his best eleven and quick, because the new owner will not put up with performances like that every week, and the inevitable will happen at the end of the season.

There are twenty odd games left, so come on Johnson - get them playing, and start kicking some arses.

We all know we need to give the lad a chance, and the fans will, but we have to start being consistent, and if it means winning scruffy, so be it.

Every game now is huge, and the Lincoln cup game is massive. Win, and this could set us up with the confidence to kick on and win something, and hopefully promotion.

Keep the faith, and everyone take care.

Mark Wild

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Lots of very good points there Mark - I and many others reading will share your thoughts and feelings on the state of thing currently. I think that deep down we’re all just really disappointed that there was no ‘new manager bounce’ when Johnson took the job - he needs time, but he’s got to start doing things right in the short term. It feels like we’re missing something at the minute, and it’s up to him to put his finger on it.

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

Dear Roker Report,

Last night’s game at Shrewsbury was almost identical to all of our other games this season. Totally predictable.

We score, the first thing I say is that we need to score again and ASAP, we don’t and just allow them to attack us relentlessly until they inevitably equalise.

Last night they took it one step further and allowed them to continue attacking until they won. No doubt Mr Johnson would have been happy with a draw.

This is not good enough.

Until we get a new owner who realises that his first signing will have to be a new manager of the Roy Keane ilk, we will not get promoted. Managers like Lee Johnson are ten a penny, we know because we have had most of them. Would Roy keane sort it out? You bet he would. Because he is an out and out winner.

Mick Colman

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Thing is, Mick, that Dreyfus was very much involved in Johnson’s appointment and the selection process. I won’t pretend I’m delighted with the results since LJ arrived, but I also think he deserves a proper chance, and needs time - he’s had nowhere near enough of that for us to be calling for his head already. Each to their own, of course, but think we’re just frustrated and perhaps that can lead to some irrational thinking.

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

Dear Roker Report,

I had the pleasure of going to Wembley in 1973 to see Sunderland beat Leeds, and for Christmas was given a DVD of the match, that I duly watched again with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.

Fast forward to the present day and this lot don’t deserve to wear the shirt! For goodness sake this is SAFC... someone wants to give it a damn good shake up!

Colin Childs

Ed’s Note [Gav]: It’s true that the club is a far cry currently from the one that it was back in ‘73, but we can’t really dwell on the past. As fans we’re literally powerless right now - we cannot go to games and support the players, helping them over the line in tight games. We’re all frustrated right now and just need something to be hopeful about, and currently the team on the pitch just aren’t performing adequately. We expect promotion because this league is poor, yet for three years we’ve looked so far off the mark that it’s embarrassing. I feel you, brother.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Fulham v Sunderland Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

If the club is taken over, the owner or new owner should make it mandatory for the management and coaching staff to read all comments on forums such as this, and act on them or explain why not. Fans are not all muppets, but managers and coaches are often arrogant and ignorant.

If SAFC had signed a decent keeper at the start of the Championship season, relegation would not have come about.

This year, why wasn’t Rob Elliot signed when released by Newcastle, instead of the planks there now? Why was Woud allowed to go? Why hasn’t Patterson been given a chance?

Why was Reece James sold? Why wasn’t he properly replaced? Why haven’t Boro been approached for Hayden Coulson, for example even on loan, or James Husband before him?

What a shambles. If this lot remain, it’s another relegation coming!


Ed’s Note [Gav]: Well, Tony Coton and Richard Hill have gone now but their legacy is that they signed some absolutely terrible players during their reign in charge of transfer matters - the current keepers included.

I’d personally like to see Patterson get a chance, and said this a while back, but Johnson seems reluctant, given that he’s basically rotated between Matthews and Burge since he arrived.

Give the boy a go. If he’s not good enough then it’ll never be his time, but we’ll never find out if he doesn’t play.

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

Dear Roker Report,

I fully agree with what’s been said in the previous editions of Fan Letters, especially with Peter, who is spot on with his diagnosis of the team.

Having supporting Sunderland since 1966, I unashamedly admit to now not going to watch them anymore.

After Tuesday night, the board, manager, coaches, scouts and players should hang their heads in shame. It confirmed what I’ve said previously on here, that this is the worst team ever.

We are still going backwards. Just look at the latest bunch of players we have acquired. Where is Winchester? Can’t get a game and then is subbed when he does, Vokins is dire and has been subbed in every game, Jones has also been subbed every game!

We have never looked fitter than other teams for years, we cannot win aerial duels, wenever win 50/50 balls (how we need a Kevin Ball)... the list goes on.

If by some miracle we got promotion, we would need a complete new team!

My forecast for the weekend is Sunderland 0-4 Doncaster.

How I wish the crowds were in the ground to give this club the standing ovation it needs after the game. Riot police included.

While some readers might be glad I’m not going to comment again, the fact is we are bluffing ourselves and need to stand up and be counted.


Colin Husband

Ed’s Note [Gav]: Ah... Colin, you’ll be watching on Saturday!

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