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Fan Letters: ‘Is it possible to overturn the decision to withdraw the streaming service?’

Tom and Norma have been left frustrated by the lack of live streams, while Andrew is excited about the young lads getting a first-team chance. Email us with your views:

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Dear Roker Report,

Perhaps I am getting too carried away for a 70+-year-old supporter but I am getting genuinely excited about the emergence of our academy players.

I know some are worried about the comparative lack of transfer activity but it is a case of getting the balance right with youth and experience.

Probably a fanciful comparison but thinking about “the class of 92” and Alan Hansen’s “you never win anything with kids”. I googled Manchester United transfer news 1992-93. With Cantona the standout purchase and Dublin a recognised player, most of the rest were squad players!

I am realistic enough to recognise the successful youngsters may move on but hopeful enough to see some long term thinking in play here!

Haway the Lads!

Andrew Bailey

Ed’s Note [Martin]: I’m excited about the prospect of more young players from the academy being given a chance, too, Andrew, as well as a long-term approach to incomings. People seemed to think we’d be getting 9 players to directly replace the players who left, but that was never going to be the case. We were always going to promote some of the youngsters, and the evidence so far suggests they’re capable of playing at this level. The key thing is that they’re afforded patience – they’re going to make mistakes, have off games etc, and they’ve got to be allowed to do that. The word ‘sustainable’ has been bandied about a lot, and of course that’s achieveable IF we can develop our own players. So the onus is on bringing good young players through, developing them well, and we’ll see what happens!

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Dan Neil’s not looked out of place in League One
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’ve been an avid reader of your website now for many years and love to hear the views expressed by your contributors and fans, as well as getting updates on the progress of the club. Many thanks for all the effort that goes into that.

This is the first time I’ve submitted any correspondence to you and I hope that you are able to shed some light on this matter, which I’ve also written to the club about.

Despite being a Yorkshireman I’ve been a Sunderland fan for over 50 years, a legacy of my Dad who was born in the area. More recently my wife has also taken up the cause and we’ve been to many matches at Roker Park and The Stadium Of Light, averaging 8 to 10 matches per season in recent years. With covid, this all stopped, but live streaming took its place, albeit that nothing can truly replace the experience of sitting in the stadium as part of a 30,000-plus crowd. I note now however that live streaming appears to have been withdrawn and I’m not sure if this is a Sunderland thing or an EFL thing?

I do appreciate that clubs want to fill their stadiums, but at this time, because of the ongoing pandemic, we’re not comfortable with coming back into a 30,000 plus crowd so we won’t be attending. Also of course we won’t now be able to see any away games. There will also be lots (probably thousands) of Sunderland fans around the country who cannot travel to games regularly but who have enjoyed the streaming and have thus made a contribution to the club, albeit a small one. I know from our perspective we watched pretty much every single game last season on streaming, be it SAFC or Now TV. As a result, we really felt much more connected to the club and to the players, although in the end suffering with everyone else as results went against us for the final promotion push.

I would like to know what the situation is regarding live streaming and if it is possible to overturn the decision that appears to have been made to withdraw this service. I do appreciate that I can see the game (highlights or the full 90 minutes) the following day or shortly thereafter, but that’s not the same experience.

Keep up the good work with the SAFC news.

Kind regards

Tom & Norma Johnson, North Yorkshire

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your email, Tom and Norma – and thank you for the kind comments, it’s greatly appreciated. With regard to the streaming situation, it’s an EFL thing rather than SAFC: Saturday 3pm kick-offs can’t be streamed within the UK. I believe midweek games etc will be available to be streamed, however. Personally, I think it’s a ridiculous, antiquated approach to football which I hoped would have changed after the past 18 months, but expecting the EFL to do anything modern and with the fans’ interests at heart is akin to expecting an elephant to dance with the Royal Ballet. There are ways to get the stream on a Saturday – the matches are broadcast live for overseas supporters – however it’s technically illegal in the UK!


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