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

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Fan Letters: “We need to engage with the reasons why players are taking the knee”

The RR mailbag discusses the recent reaction to players attempts to carry on communicating a message by taking the knee and a lack of confidence in our current manager to get the recruitment right this summer. Email us with your views:

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

There’s been a lot of attention on so called fans booing players taking the knee at the recent England game at the Riverside, and rightly so.

To our shame, there was also loud booing by our supporters of players taking the knee at the play-off semi against Lincoln at the SoL. It was not a small minority as is usually portrayed when it comes to the moron element amongst us, certainly not in a 10k crowd. However, this seemed to get no attention at all from any media at the time which is somewhat disturbing in retrospect, embarrassing as it was given the sky cameras on us.

I don’t understand fans who would do this on any level and we need to weed them out. However, I ask myself where in the journey Sunderland are given this isn’t something that seems to have raised any eyebrows at the club, local media and, if you’ll forgive me, any fan sites either.

Sunderland has a long way to go it seems to even engage with the reasons why players are taking the knee on a level beyond the superficial, let alone stamping out overt racism within the stadium which still happens I’m afraid.

Rashid Ali

Ed’s Note [Chris]: I can’t agree with you more Rashid. I thought Gareth Southgate spoke very well in reaction to the booing at the Riverside in that this is a statement that they want to keep making. We shouldn’t let this detract from the message that the players are trying to communicate.

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

Dear Roker Report,

I loved Mark Wild’s feelings, and after many false dawns, I hope that we have the right model for recruitment. We still have a few players on contract, who don’t deserve to put on the shirt.

I have not got confidence in Lee Johnson, and the main reason behind this is the quality of his first signing, Carl Winchester. Also, Dion Sanderson only bloomed after injuries left Johnson with no other option. I am sure Embleton would have also bloomed with us, given a run of games. That was another very bad decision. Both Blackpool and Lincoln started last season with new squads, so the omens are good.

Recruitment is and always has been the key, and to put your faith in statistics only, when considering players, is not the answer. Scowen covered miles, but usually trying to retrieve one of his wayward passes.

Let’s all be optimistic again, but we want players who are proud to put on the shirt, and will give their all. These are hard to find.

Adrian Donnelly

Ed’s Note [Chris]: I have as much idea as the next person how it worked in terms of recruitment in January but it seems as though Lee Johnson is a very small cog in the machinery that decides on new recruits. The new structure means that the head coach is less influential and players are signed with how the club want to play football rather than the whim of each individual manager/head coach.

I’d be lying if I said Lee Johnson was my first choice but he was appointed with a long term plan in mind, so he deserves to be given the chance to start on that road for the new season and let’s see where that takes us.


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