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Blackpool v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Second Round

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Fan Letters: ‘Aiden O’Brien should have been on the bench on Saturday!’

Saturday’s bench has got David hot under the collar - should Aiden O’Brien have been on there? - while more details emerge about John Goodchild’s SAFC departure.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Do you think this is the best team we have seen since being in League One? And by the team. I mean 1-18. To me, this is the deepest and most talented team from the starting 11 to the bench we have seen.

Joe Braun

Ed’s Note [Martin]: I don’t disagree Joe – you could argue the side in our first season down – including McLaughlin, Maja, Oviedo, Cattermole etc was better on paper, but this is the most exciting, well-constructed squad we’ve had for a while. I’m genuinely excited about watching the team develop.


Dear Roker Report,

The biggest failing, especially for a home match, was only having one forward on the subs bench on Saturday. O’Brien should have been included rather than a second centre half in Alves.

As it is no way with his size and lack of experience could Broadhead replace Stewart if needs be.

David Haswell

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Scraping the barrel a bit for negatives there aren’t you David?! Johnson obviously wanted Evans on the bench now he’s fit again, so O’Brien was the man to drop out. Whether we have to contracually have Alves in the squad as part of his loan deal, I don’t know. Don’t forget, it is only due to last-minute paperwork falling through that O’Brien’s still here anyway – Johnson was quite happy to do without him. Broadhead, rather than O’Brien, will step in for Stewart if and when that’s needed – while Stewart is tall, we don’t use him as a stereotypical target man – we keep the ball on the deck so Broadhead will be fine up there.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Second Round
Was O’Brien not being on the bench our ‘biggest failing’ on Saturday?!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I used to chat quite often with Jonny [John ‘Ralphy’ Goodchild, the subject of an article we published on Sunday] and once asked him what went wrong at Sunderland.

He was due to get married during the close season but got the chance of a council house and decided to bring the wedding forward. He approached Alan Brown and said if he wasn’t going to be involved in the first team could he have a few days off for the wedding and a honeymoon in Scarborough, and was told no problem as long as he left contact details of where he was staying.

He returned to the B&B one afternoon to be told there was a missed call from SAFC. He rang back but it was after hours and he didn’t have the manager’s home number.

When he managed to speak to Brown the next day he had wanted Jonny back to the club immediately and now was too late.

‘You’ll never play for me again!’ he was told.

A sad end to a Sunderland career for a lovely unassuming man.

Alan Brass

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for sharing that with us Alan, it shines some light onto the puzzling end to his career with us. Alan Brown seems to either be loved or disliked by former players – not a great deal of middle ground!

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