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Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One

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Fan Letters: “It’s time for this roller coaster to pick up speed!”

In today’s fan letters RR reader Ian tries to remember the last time we played football with a swagger whilst others discuss a tough job for the manager, the form of Dan Neil and the departure of Will Grigg.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I was mulling over the last time we saw really exciting football from Sunderland consistently. We’ve seen good games and even a few false dawns. However, the last time I remember the lads ripping into teams was the Reidy era. It was unreal to watch Johnston and Summerbee ripping into defenses. Attacking free-flowing football.

This season feels like it’s heading in that direction. We’re being entertained, there are rising stars like Embleton and Neil. They are playing with a swagger and I for one can’t wait for the next game.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Huggins and the two German kids can do. It’s time for this roller coaster to pick up speed and for these young lads to make us proud to be Sunderland supporters. Let the good times roll!

Ian M (Canadian Exile)

Ed’s Note [Chris]: It’s looking good Ian and even though we’re only one point better off than we were last season it just feels different. Feels like we’ve got a way of playing that doesn’t rely on us getting lucky to score the first goal.

Looking ahead at September we’ve got four games and three of them are at home and looking at the sides we’re scheduled to play it’s a great chance for us to be out in front after nine games.

Sunderland v Bolton Allan Johnston
It’s been a while since we had a side that was exciting to watch.
Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am really over the moon with how this transfer window has gone and the signing of the two German players is a bit of icing on the cake. We now have round pegs in round holes across the pitch and if I was to be supercritical I would possibly bemoan missing out on another striker.

I think LJ now has a team that should - on paper - but we don’t play on paper - walk this league. How he’s going to keep everyone happy when they’re possibly not on the bench is going to be interesting though. We’ve only got room for eighteen to walk out on that pitch so that leaves possibly eight players kicking their heels if you include the likes of Taylor, Hawkes and Benji (after his failed loan move to Hartlepool).

By the way, what on earth is going on with the loan paperwork? Seems to me like the original Grigg move to Donny, Benji’s move to Hartlepool and O’Brien’s move to... wherever, were cocked up by our lousy paperwork.

I am really looking forward to seeing the eleven walk out in our next game against Accrington though. Any bets on the first XI?


Ed’s Note [Chris]: They took their time but it appears they got the targets they had been waiting for. We’d only brought in three of the nine ahead of kicking off against Wigan and six have come through the door after the season got underway so credit has to go to Lee Johnson for getting results while the squad was still coming together.

But, looking at how few options we seemed to have on the opening day of the season we seem to have options all over the pitch now and it could be a tough job for Lee Johnson to keep everyone happy.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Second Round
Lee Johnson’s biggest task may be keeping players happy who aren’t in his starting XI
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Enjoyed Martin’s piece on Will Grigg. In my eyes players who do not respect the shirt they play in don’t realise how bloody lucky they are. I know money isn’t everything but surely when you are a young player looking to make your way in the game you dream of playing in front of big crowds and in big stadiums?

I think Grigg’s failure tells you everything about his character, or should I say, lack of character. He’s unambitious clearly.

Joe Forrester

Ed’s Note [Chris]: Thanks Joe, Martin’s piece was spot on and this squad doesn’t have the feeling that they will tolerate players who aren’t pulling their weight. The whole Will Grigg transfer was strange from the beginning, something that the documentary confirmed.

Panic buys like that rarely come off and in my view, pretty inevitable how it turned out.

Sunderland v Milton Keynes Dons - Sky Bet League One
This just about summed it up...
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Just been reading AngryJoe’s fanpost on Dan Neil (dated Aug 20th). To answer the question “what does the future hold for Dan Neil?” I’d say the sky is the limit. He carries on developing at this rate he will play at the top level, hopefully for us.

I know part of the whole academy development thing is that they eventually leave us so we make some money but I’d occasionally like us to hang on to some of them long term so they can grow with us and become club legends.

And if Dan is reading this, keep it up sonna, you’ve done brilliant so far.

Mark Whittaker

Ed’s Note [Chris]: Dan Neil has been one of the many positives at the start of this season and if his form continues as it has, it will be interesting to see how Lee Johnson manages the young midfielder.

It’s a sign of his talent how he could slot in at full-back in the opening games and then impress when he returned to his more natural position in the middle of the park. In terms of him staying with the club, I think that will depend on how we progress. The better we do over the next two or three years then the more chance there is that he’ll have a long career with us.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One
It looks like Dan Neil is enjoying his football at the moment, and we’re enjoying watching him play.
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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