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Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg

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Fan Letters: RR readers share their views on Lee Johnson after KLD gives public show of support

Is Lee Johnson still the right man for Sunderland? Our readers share their views on the gaffer’s performance and the future the playing squad. Got something to say? Email us with your views:

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Dear Sunderland fans one and all. When Lee Johnson got the job I was please first for him and followed your club from then on in for the season.

He is good manager and you all need to be patient, he has an eye for good players. I think the trouble with the club [has been] too many managers. He needs a solid back four and maybe two hungry strikers that want to show their worth.

Johnson was not a bad manager overnight, I think it was unfair for some fans to have a go at him as the manager can only [manage] what’s in front off him.

I did think you would be in the play offs; believe in him and he will get your club promoted.


a Bristol City fan

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for writing in, Kenny, it’s always nice to hear from fans of other clubs who take an interest in Sunderland AFC. I too believe that we need to give Lee Johnson time to build a team here in the way he managed, at least to begin with, at Ashton Gate. I’ve got Bristol City supporting relatives and hopefully we’ll be able to pay them a visit in 2022 when Johnson brings his newly promoted team back to his old home.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Another play-off disaster, sadly all of our own, making. We keep hearing “this squad of players are too good for this league”, well, I’m not convinced at all. We are an average league 1 team, nothing special whatsoever. McGeady and O’Nien apart what do we have? The second half, after a 2-0 half time lead that gave us a chance, was pathetic. A shadow performance from some players. I cannot say they didn’t try because I think most of them did, but their general play was awful.

I don’t know what Lee Johnson said at half time but it certainly didn’t do any good. Some players, Power, Scowen, McFadzean, and Bailey Wright, are poor standard. We cannot even blame the keeper. One mistake over 2 legs, but some superb saves and a great penalty save gave us a chance. We looked drained and could hardly run in the second half.

Leadbitter, a great servant has had his day, his legs have gone and we desperately need a massive injection of pace into the team. When did we last see a midfield player get past our forwards? Not this season, that’s for sure. With a host of players out of contract I hope we see an influx of younger fitter, faster, more hungry players, if not I’ll be writing the same sort of letter in 12 months time.

Haway the lads.

Pete L - Mansfield Mackem

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for your letter, Pete. I think you’re just about spot on in terms of what’s required. That inability of our midfield to contribute significantly to our attacking play, the lack of pace, and, in general, the need for a complete refresh of the squad. I really hope we can tie Aiden McGeady and Luke O’Nien into new contracts, and I think it’s right that that Power, Scowen and McFadzean will be allowed to move on. I do hope that a fit Bailey Wright, paired with a new central defended (or perhaps Ollie Younger or a fit Arbenit Xhemajli) will regain his form next term. Despite the disappointment of the weekend, it’s going to be an exciting summer.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg
Fans favourite Luke O’Nien will be offered new contract with SAFC
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Same old story I said we can not play for 90 mins and I was proven right unfortunately. Johnson must have known that Lincoln would step it up in the second half so why did he not change it at half time. If we ran out of steam as he said why didn’t he bring fresh legs on quicker why wait till sixty minutes that’s bad management he has to take the blame for that.

The defence injuries he could have used some young lads but chose not to playing players out of position that always comes back and bites you in the arse. Johnson blaming referees is covering up his shortfalls as a manager; all sides get bad decisions - that’s football. Next season the fans will back him but he has to lose the streaky tag or he will be history and then again we could be miles away from promotion.

Next season we say it every year we need pace and strength in the squad and a creative midfield that has to happen or it's five seasons in league one. The last few years our use of the loan system has been embarrassing to say the least - that has to improve. The hard work starts now we need a full clear out, Leadbitter and McGeady; I would offer them player coaching roles. Keep O’Nien and Bailey Wright and Stewart, the rest get rid of the rest.

For once let’s get recruitment right and get next season off to a flyer and make the stadium of light a fortress again he’s hoping for great season next year and good football to watch surely that’s not a lot to ask for.

Let's have players with heart and desire like we saw in the first half yesterday and can play for ninety minutes and let’s use the young players especially Embleton, Diamond, Hawkes, Younger, etc.

Mark Wild

Ed’s Note [Rich]: You were proven right about promotion, Mark, as much as it pains me to admit it. I think you’ll be proven wrong that Johnson is a bad manager. And we’ve seen that McGeady has been offered a playing contract rather than a coaching role, but you’re right about the need for a fundamental reshaping of the squad. Johnson’s real work starts now, and I think he should largely be judged on his performance once he has his own squad in place.

Sunderland AFC Training Session
Youngsters like Josh Hawkes are the future of Sunderland
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

As we read Roker Report and other SAFC forums it is clear that the fans are split on whether Mr Johnson is the right man for the hot seat at the SOL. IMO his team selections and substitution decisions leave a lot to be desired. Yesterday's game was the most important this season but despite our best 45 minutes of the season he allowed his team to capitulate, and I have to say, not for the first time this season.

I have to ask, why did this happen? Lincoln made two half time substitutions but did that make them play better or was it that we once again thought that we had done enough and played worse? For me it was the latter. Yesterday’s second half was nothing short of a disgrace and despite people saying that this was not Johnson's team?

Sorry but you are wrong. When he took the job on he knew exactly what he was coming into. He has had these players for six months, his team has failed us and so has he. We have a Billionaire owner, if he has the same doubts as half of our fans then he must rethink who he is going to trust with his money.

Again only in my opinion, Mr Johnson is not the right man. Kyril can afford the best, so go get him, and there’s no time to spare. It’s just over two months until the start of next season.

Mick Colman

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Alright there, Mike. The weekend was a massive let down, and I do think that the manager needs to take his share of responsibility for the way the season ended. The big boss has had his say on Talksport and he disagrees with your assessment of Johnson’s performance overall. I’ve been wrong about managers many times before, but I definitely think we’d be foolish to change manager yet again; let the man build his own squad and then I think we’ll see the results next season.

Dear Roker Report,

Get rid of Johnson. Bring back big SAM please. Should never of given Johnson the job we need someone with passion for the club. If big Sam hadn’t left for England job we would be back where we belong in premier league.

David Forsyth

Ed’s Note [Rich]: It’s pretty clear that Lee Johnson is going nowhere soon, Louis-Dreyfus said as much himself on the radio on Wednesday. I’ve no idea what makes you think Sam Allardyce would consider a League One club when surely he’ll be able to earn a few million more for a few months at a side facing relegation from the Premier League again next season.

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Camp - Day 2
Never say never again? Surely not!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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