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Sunderland v Accrington Stanley - Sky Bet League One

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Fan Letters: ‘SAFC are not seeing teams off – this makes for too many nervy moments!’

RR reader Andrew believes we need to be more clinical in front of goal, while Michael shares some interesting memories of Alan Brown!

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Regarding Alan Brown: Similarly, he was either loved or hated by the fans. I recall an argument in Roker Avenue after a game in 1964 after we’d drawn 2 v 2 against Stoke City, between my Father and another supporter, who he didn’t know. Brown was not the manager at the time, having resigned in the summer. In essence, the other gentleman and his associates were asserting that the 2-2 draw would not have been allowed to occur if Brown was still in charge. Whereas my dad asserted that he was responsible for taking us down for the first time in our existence, and it had taken him seven years to get Sunderland, off all teams in the land, back up, and that we had no chance of winning the 1st Division as it was then if Brown had remained at the club.

Later, in 1969-70, when he had returned from Sheffield Wednesday, both us and them were relegated in that season. My father almost celebrated the fact that Alan Brown was the only manager in history to be the manager of two relegated teams in the same season, and that he would go down in history as the only manager to ever relegate Sunderland – and he was so bad that he did it twice!

One amazing insight my Father shared with me the day that Brown was sacked in 1972, was that now that Brown was gone, we’ll fill Roker Park again straight away and we’ll win the Cup!

My Dad wasn’t a Brown fan, and it was passed down the family when I was far too young to even consider an opinion of my own on him.

Michael Ribbands

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email Michael, interesting stuff. Alan Brown obviously had a lot of off-field stuff to clean up in his early days at the club particularly, but you can’t overlook the fact he was in charge for our first-ever relegation, which you could argue set the tone for the decades that followed!

Soccer - Football League Division One - Sunderland Photocall
Alan Brown – divided opinion!
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I watched Saturday’s match and I have noticed that one thing is becoming apparent – SAFC are not seeing teams off. They get on top and then appear to run out of steam.

This makes for too many nervy moments.

Let us not kid ourselves – if Accrington had been a bit more clínical, they could have walked away with at least one point, if not all three.

Nevertheless, we are still in a period of transitión and hopefully, when the new arrivals have bedded in we can kick on.

Andrew Hadfield

Ed’s Note [Martin]: I agree with you to an extent, Andrew, although by the same logic if we’d been a bit more clinical and taken our chances we would have won at a canter. On this week’s podcast I said I thought the game was closer than people seemed to think – we made hard work of it, and when we’re on top we need to kill teams off. However, in reality we’re top of the league, five wins from six with a young team that’s only going to get better. Not bad if we’re still in a period of ‘transition’.

Sunderland v Accrington Stanley - Sky Bet League One
Should we have scored more on Saturday?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’d start Frederik Alves on Saturday.

We know what Bailey Wright is all about, and he’s... alright. But Alves is an exciting prospect who came from a top-flight club that paid a lot of money for him. He’s mobile and decent on the ball, which makes him more like Flanagan than Wright.

When Wright plays we play far too deep and I worry with him in the back four.

Howard Green

Ed’s Note [Martin]: It’ll be an interesting choice for Lee Johnson, Wright is the safer bet but there’s potentially more to gain from playing Alves. I suspect Johnson will err on the side of caution with this one, particularly being an away game. But we’ll see! Alves will surely play against Wigan in the cup in midweek regardless.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Second Round
Alves’ only start came in the cup at Blackpool
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Thanks for the superb feature on John Goodchild.

I had the pleasure of working for the same organisation as John and found him a lovely, modest man.

Even though I had started going to Roker Park when John was a player I, unfortunately, didn’t see him play. I did once take part in a work five a side with him and it was obvious which one of us had been a professional (and it wasn’t me!).

Thanks again for a great read.

Stuart Anderson

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for your email Stuart, really appreciate the kind words. It was a great feature and we’ve had a lot of correspondence about it – seems to have really struck a chord.


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