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Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light

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Reader’s Corner: Believe in the process!

“I have noted a lot of discontent amongst our fanbase with the current situation be it from the manager to the players and this is my view” RR reader Sturch83 gives his views on the current situation. - send us an email!

Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Fans all have their own opinions and they are all entitled to them, that is the beauty of football. So I would like to give mine. Not for one second am I saying it is correct or wrong.

Let’s look at our club. We have the best facilities in terms of stadium and academy and fanbase in League One. Should we be where we are and are we a big club?

Well, that’s a long question.

Fanbase and facilities don’t make you a big club. We are where we are so let’s look forward and not backwards and ask the big question ‘how do we get out of this league?’.

I have noted a lot of discontent amongst our fanbase with the current situation be it from the manager to the players and this is my view.

We have got new ownership and a new strategy in place. This won’t mean as he is minted we buy our way out of this place (remember we tried to do this previously). I personally like his approach of rebuilding everything that has been eroded over the last ten years and then when we get to where we want to be we are sustainable.

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

Do we want to be West Brom, Sheffield Utd etc.? We need to build from the bottom and make ourselves a sustainable business and use the academy to our advantage. How many players have we had on our books who have then been released and gone onto do a job that we could only wish for?

This for me is our biggest issue. We focus on our academy. If it means developing a player and selling for big bucks before our end goal then so be it. It helps our business. Jude Bellingham is a massive example. He has kept Birmingham City afloat for the next five years.

For me this is where our strengths lie, within the academy.

The Manager

I personally like Lee Johnson. He got a lot stick last year over his rotation policy and ultimately his ‘failure’ of not being promoted.

My view is he was a victim of his early success with limited resources. He took over a team from Parkinson that was bereft of ideas and was in my twenty years of following the lads the most predictable, boring team I have ever seen.

Johnson couldn’t splash the cash to change it as he was restricted by the takeover ongoing and League One transfer policies (which have thankfully been wiped out). He did well with a squad that was not good enough quality and didn’t have enough strength in depth. Look at the players we played out of position. The excuse it was Parkinson team is now gone however and the sword is fully Johnson’s to fall on. I don’t however, think he will.

Harrogate v Sunderland - Pre-Season Friendly
Lee Johnson
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

New Signings

We all want to sign Messi, but let’s talk reality. We are league one and can’t attract massively quality players. We need to utilise the loan market and build within through our academy.

Dion Sanderson is the massive one on fans lips. Yes, he would have cost a significant amount of money, but not once has he ever said he wanted to come to us. There are two sides to every transfer rumour.

If we got promoted I think we may have stood a chance of getting him, but once that fire was extinguished so was the hope of signing him. Our most productive period will potentially be the winter transfer market. Yes, we need players, however, we also have a talented academy (as the fans continue to shout) so why not trust in them? We need quality over quantity.

I personally think we will be play-off contenders this year and will have ups and downs but I believe in the longer-term plan. And then next season we will walk the league. If we went up last year we would have likely found that we were not ready, and quite easily could have been Wycombe and back where we started.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One
Dion Sanderson
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Believe in the process and give the team (players and backroom staff) time and don’t hound them out. We are not where we want to be, there have been mistakes made but I’d take this over five years ago. We have a plan and a goal and a method to get there.

Will that be successful? Well if I knew that I’d own the club as I’d be a multi-billionaire.

Keep the faith.

(...and Stewart brings more to the team than Wyke. Look at the penalty he won against Hearts. First time in years we have played a ball though and behind a defence... again, just my personal opinion!)

Sturch 83


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