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Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Fan Letters: Arghhhhhhh Sunlun maaaaaaaan

A lot of you had something to get off your chest this morning. Can’t imagine why...

Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Lee Johnson said the Sunderland players would die in a ditch to get three points at Blackpool.

Only problem was they were all dead in the ditch!

Pathetic yet again.

Would anyone play McFadzean, Leadbitter, Burge or Scowen in their Subbuteo team?

Maguire is our best set piece player and most creative midfielder yet we will even play a cathedral instead of him.

Totally despair. And a one eyed penguin I’m goal would be an improvement on Burge.

They don’t deserve to be paid.

They are very lucky there are no fans!

Philip Wright

Ed’s Note [Martin]: It certainly was a disappointing result, and it’s concerning how we’ve gone from looking so confident to looking so fragile in the space of a week. Leadbitter was probably our best player against Blackpool though – think he’s going to be pivotal in the play offs.

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Is Maguire going to get back into the team?
Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Sorry, but if Lee Johnson thinks we played well yesterday my respect for him is diminishing quickly. It looks like it will be Charlton or Portsmouth in the play off games. If Embleton is back from Blackpool he has to play him – our midfield in the last three games has been awful, we need younger talent in there.

Johnson’s target now is get the team winning again and get the confidence back for the play offs. Over two legs the team is capable of beating anybody.

The keeper situation is dodgy – does he drop Burge and bring in Matthews? They both are inconsistent but I think Burge’s confidence is shot.

These are big decisions coming up for Johnson.

The team has to start performing and not rely on McGeady all the time. We have to find other outlets and quick. In the playoffs we have to start to provide quality balls in the box again for Wyke. The lad has done his job this season and banged them in when he has had the service.

Let’s have more positive play and start getting the ball out wide and get crosses into the box not the back passing routine we are playing again hence the results. The play offs are a lottery here’s to winning the jackpot and promotion – then the hard work really starts.

Mark Wild

Ed’s Note [Martin]: I thought yesterday was a better performance than at Wigan, but ultimately it’s the end result that matters. For me, we don’t test the opposition’s keeper enough, and we’re incredibly predictable in terms of how we score goals. And if we don’t score, then a keeper error will cost us dearly. Burge has had a decent season, and almost every time Matthews has played for us he’s let in a goal he should save, so I’d leave him in.

Sunderland AFC Training Session
Is it time for Matthews to get another shot in goal?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Recent comments in the Forum have shown some concern that Maguire has virtually disappeared from the starting team, with many fans saying that he should be included in the squad

They back those statements up with the opinions that he has skills that can open up the crowded opposition defences.

There are others who say Maguire is overweight, unfit and does not work hard enough when in the team

Lee Johnson has revealed this week that he told Maguire in January that he could leave for pastures new.

Putting all these factors together I just wonder if Johnson thought he would motivate Maguire by his actions? Because if he did he needs to take a course in man management and psychology.

As things have turned out, it’s far from having a motivating effect, I believe it has led to Maguire saying eff it, and thinking if that is all he thinks of me, and the outcome of working hard and delivering on the field is going to be the boot at the end of the season, why should I put in extra effort?

A good manager just would not have done that to a player who has skills that are sadly lacking in the other players

Mordey St

Ed’s Note [Martin]: It’s a really strange one and, like Parkinson with McGeady, it’s ok if results are going for you. When they start going against you questions are rightly going to be asked. Something’s obviously happened behind the scenes because from a purely football perspective Maguire should be in the squad every week, and potentially in the team every week. Whatever has gone on or is going on, Johnson needs to put it to one side and bring him back into the team for the rest of the season. If it is a footballing decision then, well, that raises more questions, doesn’t it?

Peterborough United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
It’s one for Johnson to ponder
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

This summer there is no room for sentiments, simple as that.

If we went up, and we still may, I would have given one year contracts to some players, not because they are good enough more of a reward of getting us up and a chance to prove themselves in the championship. However, now that is not the case even if we get promoted.

The prime example for me would be Max Power. Now, I am not his biggest fan but I would still have given him a year extension. No matter what this summer I would hope we part ways. The move has not worked. I do not think we have seen the Power we expected. His time here as been very stop start run of few good games then quite a few more bad ones.

That for me would not be the end of it. For me following Power out the door whether it be not giving a new contract, loan expiring or simply moving on would be:

Lee Burge, Remi Matthews, Callum McFadzean, Jake Vokins, Dion Sanderson, Tom Flanagan, Chris Maguire, George Dobson, Josh Scowen, Jordan Jones, Ross Stewart, Will Grigg and Aiden O’Brien.

Now, for me also one of Jordan Willis or Bailey Wright should move on. I like both however, both have a tendency to get Injuries and we can’t carry deadwood next season, not anymore. The easier of the two to move on would be Willis due to his contract expiring so potentially it may be him.

With all of these departures I hope it will allow us to sign quite a a lot of players, which we need. In the summer we need goals. Simple as that. Apart from Wyke we have nobody. We must identify a good back up to Wyke or preferably someone better, as well as wingers who will get us 10+ goals and more goals in the midfield.

Following on from that we need more creativity in midfield as that is seriously lacking, and has been for some time. A right back who can get forward and add something extra as well as hopefully being dynamic unlike McLaughlin. New left back to properly challenge Hume if not take his spot. New centre backs to replace the outgoing ones. Finally, 100% need a new keeper for obvious reasons. Burge is a decent League One keeper but we need better I’m afraid. With these signings it would be nice to see some important qualities which we do lack in some aspects, physicality, pace creativity and most importantly goals.

In the summer i do expect us to ‘buy the league’ so to speak. I fully expect us to only spend if necessary but with the hopeful ambition of Dreyfus I do see us spending a considerable amount more than any other team next season so Lee Johnson, Kristjaan Speakman, Stuart Harvey and James Young have a massive task of identifying quality players and some of those that can hopefully make a step up.

It is the harsh but sad reality these players have ultimately failed in trying to get us promoted. For me my confidence for the summer will be based on our list of those who have been released. If a lot of the players named above are given new contracts then I fear that the recruitment team may not be as ruthless as we need them to be.

Time will tell, until then we have to get back on a run of form, ready for the play offs because at this rate we will be turned over in the semi final or worse yet not qualify for them.


Ed’s Note [Martin]: I agree that, whatever league we are in, we need a bit of an overhaul. It’ll be interesting to see how we approach it – Johnson was left a rather one-dimensional squad by Phil Parkinson, and we need more attacking quality all over the pitch. Obviously I’d like us to keep Sanderson, and despite his fluctuations in form I think Jones possess a lot of quality. Time will tell!

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One
Will Max Power be here next season?
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I have cooled down since 3 o’clock. How many points BURK (BURGE) and the other BURK cost us this season. Should start looking for a goalkeeper NOW BIG PRIORITY. IMO the best player on the pitch was a 34 year old and we know who that was. Keep the youngsters and maybe another two and get rid of the rest.

Three years and by the looks of it another one next season in this league they look nowhere as good as the promoted teams. Not good enough, got no bottle and where’s the urgency in the team. We had poor teams before but not like this lot – especially in this league. We are supposed to be the big fish in the pond but in name only. We need one big clearance on the playing side of things?

About the head coach. Ok he inherited this lot, but tactics wise?

Another thing, you loan players in your own league to teams that are going to fight off relegation so that maybe will take points off the better teams. I know he couldn’t play against us today but he made Blackpool tick from the word go and are unbeaten in 15 games. I wonder if we had kept him here. Sorry can’t place the lad’s name at the time of commenting (annoying), must be my age. I’m seriously doubting whether we will make the play offs. We have got to improve very quickly. I always live and hope. Keep the faith. You will never know.

Anthony DeGiovanni

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Embleton’s the lad you’re referring to, and he’s done well for them by all accounts. I’m hopeful he’ll be back here next season and starting for us, because we could really do with his creativity. The past three games will have given Lee Johnson plenty to think about and hopefully he finds the answers sooner rather than later.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Burge will be disappointed he didn’t get to Blackpool’s goal yesterday
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I was very interested to read your article on McMenemy. I was a loyal supporter when I lived in Sunderland saw all the 73 games orient Wembley and Cardiff all in one week – also the two cup winners games in Budapest and Lisbon.

I moved to the south island of NZ in 1989 and became involved with our local team in the national league. As a result was invited by the NZFA to attend their centenary match v England in wellington and stayed in the same hotel as the England team.

Whilst getting on to hotel lift McMenemy was there and said hello - I responded by saying to him that he would never have thought that he would travel thousands of miles to share a lift with a loyal Sunderland supporter – he got out of the lift pretty quickly.

Mike Smith

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email Mike. I presume the lift was going down?

Holland 2-0 England World Cup Qualifier, football match at the de Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam Holland 13th October 1993.
McMenemy was part of Graham Taylor’s England set up
Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Holland 2-0 England World Cup Qualifier, football match at the de Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam Holland 13th October 1993.
McMenemy was part of Graham Taylor’s England set up
Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I hear and see, often enough, thoughts from hundreds of SAFC fans, stating how good this person is playing and how good that person is playing.

However, out of this squad, there are only a small handful good enough to even play in this the third tier of the beautiful game. This squad with a few additions here and there have failed to get us promoted... And it could happen again.

With KLD now seemingly having an open hand to invest in Sunderland AFC I can honestly see a brand new squad in whichever division we are in next year, and it can’t come quick enough in my eyes.

I’m afraid only Luke O’Nien makes my team moving forward, and Jones if signed... the rest can go. What about Sanderson and Wyke I hear?

In it for himself, he’ll be off like a shot back to Wolves, and Wyke isn’t good enough... Even tho he’s scored goals this season.

Apologies if harsh but that’s my thoughts.

Ron Scrafton

Ed’s Note [Martin]: You’re entitled to your opinion Ron! Given the squad is third in the table at present, I think it’s evident they’re good enough for the top end of League One. Three poor results don’t alter the fact they have competed well for the majority of the season – however, I do agree the squad needs a bit of an overhaul. From my perspective i disagree wholeheartedly with your Sanderson comment – he seems to like it here and has been superb for us. As for Wyke, he’s a decent L1 striker, but we need an alternative in the squad. We’re so heavily reliant on him for goals it’s crazy.


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