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Fan Letters: Was signing Dion ever realistic? RR reader Paul reckons we were kidding ourselves

Meanwhile, Portsmouth fan Bill offers an external perspective on the need to run a sustainable club, SAFC fan Sam wants some transfer activity that makes everyone else sit up and take notice.

Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m a Pompey supporter, but for some reason, Roker Report started appearing on my Facebook page about 18 months ago. I’ve carried on reading it with interest.

If you swapped the club names, the contributors on our pages and yours are so similar. You have the whiners, and moaners for whom everything the club does is wrong, the genuine supporters who support through thick, and thin. We also have those like myself who when the club looked to be disappearing put our money where our mouth is to buy it.

The most annoying ones are those who think we should spend ridiculous amounts on players and wages. We’ve been there, done that, nearly disappeared in the financial abyss. Like you, we have extremely rich owners, but when they set out their plans for the club before they took over, they said it should be financially sustainable, which they have stuck to.

Stay as proper supporters through thick, and thin, ignore the moaners, and whiners, they’ll never be happy, whatever happens.

Support your club, see where the season takes you. Good luck for the year, as long as we don’t meet in the playoffs.

Bill Marshall

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your email Bill, it’s great to have you here. I find it incredible that, despite seeing what throwing money around left, right, and centre has done for us, people are demanding we do more of the same. I think there’s a quote (often incorrectly attributed to Einstein) about the definition of insanity which is relevant here! Both Sunderland and Portsmouth have stared into the abyss – we’ve survived, just, and we simply have to do things differently. We’re never going to be able to outspend the top teams anyway, so to have any chance of doing anything we’ve got to be smart about it. Let’s hope it pays off. Best of luck for the season, apart from the games when we play each other, of course!

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
There are a lot of similarity off the pitch between Sunderland and Portsmouth – and we’ll renew acquaintances on the field soon, too.
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Obviously I would have loved to have seen Dion Sanderson at Sunderland for another season, however, I am slightly bemused by the reaction of some of our supporters to the fact he won’t be returning.

I see a lot of annoyance that we haven’t stumped up £2m for him. I think if you read between the lines, if all that was required was £2m I am pretty confident that we would have made an attempt to sign him, I am also pretty confident if that was the case probably 10 more clubs would have been in the queue too. We also arrogantly assume that the player, with options to play Championship football, would turn that down for another season in League One. Was it possible to get him back on loan? Wolves, before the player, would decide where that loan would be.

His next arrangement suits all parties. From Wolves’ perspective, he is still their player and he will be testing himself at a higher level in his development. If successful forget £2m. As an added benefit, Sanderson is now staying in the Midlands.

In summary, Sanderson was great for us, like Welbeck, Evans, Stewart Downing before him.

But we are a League One club.

Paul Wood

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Absolutely spot on Paul. If we’d gotten promoted we would have had a chance to keep him on loan, but in the cold light of day, once we lost the play off, he was never a possibility. We all drift off to this fantasy world where players fall in love with the club, demand to move to us, get a tattoo of the Wearmouth Bridge on their chest, and take a huge pay cut too – but it simply doesn’t happen. £2m was never going to be accepted, and even if it had been there’d have been a host of Championship and Premier League clubs after him. Wolves showed what they thought of him by giving him a new four-year deal, and as you say – in terms of his development, what’s best? Another season in League One, where he’s proven himself, or a season in the Championship? Unfortunately, until we are at least in the Championship we have little chance of signing Premier League loan players permanently. On the plus side, it should give us an appetite to use the loan market a lot better than we have done previously. PS - I’d add Shay Given to that list, too!

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League
It’s better to have loved and lost than have never loved at all. Allegedly.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Well, another season upon us. Am I missing something or have we strengthened our team without telling us?

We’ve been conned and lied to for the last three seasons and I really expected the new owners (no idea who they are apart from the one who’s fronting them) to engage fully with the fans and be totally transparent.

I don’t expect them to throw money at the club but did expect a gesture in the transfer market that would make others sit up and notice and say “Sunderland are back”.

By the way, we were told that there was a budget of £60m when we go up to the Championship. We’re not in the Championship so what’s the budget in Div One????? It’s now we need a boost, to get out of the league. The biggest news I’ve seen is Elton John’s concert. Can’t see how that benefits anyone other than the owners.

Sam Lucas

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Haway man Sam. £60m budget? You can’t believe everything you read in the paper! Let’s deal with what we know. The whole philosophy that KLD has spoken about since day one has been about building a sustainable club, developing players, making far better use of the academy. That’s the direction the club’s going in. People may have differing opinions on whether or not that’s the right approach, but that’s how we’re doing things. We know this – we were never going to spend millions of quid this summer on transfers. We might spend some money this summer, we might not, but I’d be really surprised if we pay more than £750,000 for a player. I understand why some people may be getting a little nervous with the relative lack of transfer activity but I’d much rather we were strategic, smart and purposeful in our recruitment than go after a big name or two for a big transfer fee and big wages. There’s a whole new recruitment team there, and I’d rather we wait for the players we really want, rather than signing people for the sake of it. We’ve made some signings that should improve the team, and there’s still six weeks of this window left, so to make any judgement now is doing so without all of the information. If any good is to come out of the past decade it’s that the club learns we can’t keep making those ‘Rodwell’ type of signings. I’m not sure where this thing about KLD not being transparent is coming from – he’s shared his ‘vision’ with us, and Speakman’s been pretty open about the approach etc. Donald and Methven got slated for being too open. I’d say where we are now – with Ellis Short’s non-communication, and Donald and Methven’s over communication – is probably a happy medium.

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