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Sunderland AFC Announce Signing Of Alex Pritchard

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Fan Letters: ‘We need to spend money!’ ‘We need to do things differently!’ ‘But we need to spend money!’

While Paul and Anthony plead for patience, Leon and David aren’t happy with the way things are going in pre-season. It’s just another normal day at Roker Report...

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Our lives are intertwined with our football club. We love them, hate them and they can make or ruin our weekends.

I don’t mind Groundhog Day as long as I see interest and passion from the club's strategy and not just throwing money at the problem.

Wycombe, Luton and Barnsley had 50p to spend in recent seasons. I live in Norwich so probably spend more on travel to matches than they did transfer fees. Norwich has developed players, explored the lower German market and made over £80 million in two years with still £100 million of talent left while spending less than £15 million.

Norwich have turned down £30million + bids this summer for two of their players who have come through the academy.

Our under 23s, not just the talent, but the way of life as a Mackem started to show seeds last season, this season we are strengthening again. These are our championship players for next season hopefully.

We can’t splash the cash and the make same mistakes for journeymen or those wanting fat pockets full of cash and at the same time saying bring the kids through. We cant have 22 v 11 although sometimes probably be no advantage anyway for us suffering Sunderland supporters.

BUT infrastructure started last season and the new owners and management are rapidly improving on that. I actually believe this is the new dawn. New signings will come, we will spend for the right player while having one eye on the future stability rather than Groundhog Day again.

Paul Bowerbank

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your email Paul. It’s quite clear we’re trying something different to what we’ve done repeatedly over the past decade or more – we’re trying to build something sustainable and that delivers benefits such as, as you’ve pointed out, Norwich have enjoyed. The Norwich example is interesting – when Farke was appointed he started really poorly, but the club stuck with him, even after relegation, and they’ve reaped the rewards. Stuart Webber has been in the job of sporting director for four years. There’s stability, continuity and consistency – and that’s what we’ve lacked so badly. The last manager we’ve had for four years was Peter Reid – and we’ve never had a ‘ sporting director’ or similar last for any length of time. I believe we all need to give this new direction a very good chance – we’ve tried the alternative and look where it’s got us.

Norwich City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Carrow Road
Farkeing hell – they stuck with a manager and look what happened!
Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I agree with Stephen, what do these fans expect. Signing the likes of Messi that were or are out of contract. After a decade of wasting £millions look where it got us. We are in a different ball game now and accept it. Be positive and look forward to the new season and keep the faith.

Anthony DeGiovanni

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Completely agree Anthony. As I mentioned above – we need to give another way of doing things a red hot chance. Otherwise, things will never change.

Sunderland AFC Announce Signing Of Alex Pritchard
Is Pritchard’s signing is a sign of things to come?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The signing of elderly, inconsistent, injury-prone players is a bad sign and suggests that the new owner has been given wrong advice as to who to appoint to look for new talent. I shudder to think what we are going to see when these players will play against the young, lively, quick, enthusiastic players we have seen in other clubs.

LJ is not good enough. We have seen good first-half play from our players which the other team’s manager has noted. This manager then changes his team’s work-plan accordingly and gone on to win, while LJ has plodded on with his original plan. Not good enough.

I’m not happy with our goalkeeper. We have seen some brilliant keepers in this league and some who win games for their clubs. Too often we see average performances only from our player and stupid mistakes which affect our confidence.

It will take another season for the new owner to grasp everything and then, the sky’s the limit.

Leon Linskill

Ed’s Note [Martin]: I agree with your last sentence Leon, but that’s about it mate. Not sure who the elderly players we’ve signed are – Evans is 31 and has a good track record in the championship. If we sign younger players (such as Doyle, who according to some people is too young!) we’re going to need experience around them. The jury’s still out on Johnson as far as I’m concerned, but I like his approach and he’s only now getting the chance to bring in players that fit his playing style. As for Burge, he was voted the league’s best keeper last year – it just goes to show that the vast majority of keepers in league one are inconsistent, although a number seem to play blinders against us. I’d like to see a new keeper (and think Patterson could start the season as number one, if he impresses in pre-season), but to say there are a number of other keepers in league one who are significantly better than Burge is a bit of an overstatement!

Sunderland Training Session
Will Patterson challenge Burge this season?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

As a fan for over 60 years, I feel there’s still so much to do in a short time. We have still only Stewart up front. Five centre-halves were insufficient last season due to injuries. We have a teenager, an unproven Kosovan, an under 23 player, and an Aussie with his own past injury problems. Grigg, Flanagan and O’Brien are not worth including. What happened to our £60 million from our owner, even £2 million for Sanderson?

David Haswell

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Not sure where the £60m figure came from David, I’d be shocked if we spend 5% of that. There’s still a long way to go before the transfer window shuts, and while I’d have loved to see all of our transfer business done early, it very rarely happens for anyone. I’d much rather we waited to get the players we want in, rather than snap up anyone just so we have bodies in. We’ll sign players between now and the first game. And probably some more after that. Then we can assess how successful the transfer window has been.


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