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Fan Letters: Sunderland Striker special!

Will Grigg’s failure at Sunderland continues to dominate our mailbag! What are your thoughts on how we get the team scoring? Got something to say? Email us:!

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

Dear Roker Report,

I read your article this morning about Will Grigg and his lack of goals. It is quite an easy answer. When you buy a goalscorer like Will you ask him ‘which formation do we need to play that will enable you to score?’.

The partnership between Niall and Kev was the best I’ve seen for years. If the ball comes into feet, Kev gets it. If the ball comes in the air, Niall does the work.

If Will wasn’t getting the ball it was because the system was wrong. Ross, PP and the odd Johnson game has not been played to Will’s strengths.

It’s almost as bad as buying a goalie and playing them left back.

On another note: shots on goal. If you have 20 shots on goal between 10 and 12 should be on target. Simple solution – start at 10 metres hitting the ball in 1 of 4 areas, then move them back to 20 metres and so on up to the halfway line – all players except the goalie. He’s hopefully trying to stop the ball.


George Forster

Ed’s Note [Martin]: I agree with your point about Grigg to an extent, George. I don’t think we played the right way to get the best out of him. However, in my mind the bigger points in the whole Grigg debacle are: 1. Why sign a player that doesn’t fit into your system in the first place? 2. Grigg’s attitude on the field (his body language and visible effort) and off the field (apparently not moving full time to the North East and the various interviews he gave bemoaning his move here). They are all more to blame, in my view. Anyway, it’s a bad chapter that’s thankfully closed for the time being. In terms of shooting practice, let’s hope they’re doing some!

Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One
Was our formation to blame for Grigg’s inability to score?
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Couldn’t agree more about O’Nien playing centre forward. It’s the only position apart from goalie he’s not played. I think he would be a natural in that role. The likeness between him and Kevin Philips is as close that I have seen to the great man himself. Why can’t the management not see that? Good poaching ability and great in the air. Give him a go.

Stephen Brewis

Ed’s Note [Martin]: The O’Nien for Number 9 campaign officially starts here, Stephen. I’ve been talking about this for a few weeks now and think it could really work well... although I think you need to steady on with your SKP comparison until we’ve actually tried it! But Phillips started as a right back... We need to get Alan Durban to cast his eye over him for us. He’d know.

Milton Keynes Dons v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
O’Nien for number 9?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

It is not the club’s fault that Grigg failed. If he did not want to come, he should not have done so. He has conned the fans and the owners, though there should be little sympathy for the latter.

A huge proportion of his goals are from penalties. Who in their right mind would pay a fortune for a penalty taker? A penalty winner, yes, but a taker?


Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email Pedro. As I said to George above there are a number of factors to it, but ultimately it was a transfer that was majorly flawed from the outset, never worked, and he will go down alongside Rodwell and Alvarez in the list of our worst ever signings. I don’t think he’s deliberately ‘conned’ anyone, though – I just think it’s not worked for a multitude of reasons. Best forgotten, for now at least.

Sunderland v Gillingham - EFL Sky Bet League 1
Grigg scores... from the spot
Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Re: Tony from Sherburn’s letter

First of all, I didn’t mention anything about an endemic problem in the club, however, it’s pretty obvious there is one. I spoke about the lack of clinical finishing in front of goal from messers Grigg and Graham thoughout the season when they were called upon to do a job they allegedly, were good at! Neither one could score in house of disrepute as far as I am concerned, good riddence and we can use their wages to move forward with the new signings and get them match fit and integrated into the team

Malcolm Donnison

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Let’s hope the new lads get us firing Malcolm – Jones has looked more dangerous in a couple of outings than Grigg and Graham have ever done for us, and I’m looking forward to seeing Stewart in action. As Roy Keane would say, we move on.

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