Dear Roker Report,
I was at the open training the other day and thought it was a fantastic event. My kids got their shirts signed by all the players and we got selfies with their favourites Luke O’Nien and Bailey Wright.
The kids are our future and the club need to give them memories they’ll cherish for life so that in turn they become fans for life. Not enough of this goes on but this is a good start and the open training should become a feature of all the kids' holidays during term time.
Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email Chris, and great to hear you and your kids enjoyed the open training session. Agree 100% – the club need to do this sort of stuff regularly to engage kids from an early age. Great event, but it can’t be a one-off – it’s got to be part of a bigger, consistent and sustained programme of community events.
Dear Roker Report,
Simms coming back is such a boost but let’s not forget how long he’s been out. He won’t be at his best straight away and we need to look after him. If he has a few quiet games then that’s fair enough given he’s getting back to fitness. So a word of warning to my fellow fans: be patient!
Ed’s Note [Martin]: Absolutely James – he’ll take a while to get up to speed so hopefully he’ll be given some time. I expect him to be on the bench today, and given 30 minutes to begin with.
Dear Roker Report,
After the meltdown against Burnley, I feel real hard facts need to be faced.
I was dead set against the appointment of Tony Mowbray from the very beginning and I was (and still am) convinced he just does not have it as a manager to take us forward.
I believe the guy lacks any kind of motivational skills and he absolutely comes across as negative and more of a “glass half empty” man.
However, besides all that, I feel he was shown to be completely off the game tactics-wise against Burnley. It was basically impossible for the visitors to be so hopeless in the second half, and it was inevitable their manager would change things around.
We had a two-goal cushion and I believe the way forward would have been to bring on a spoiler in midfield like Matete and frustrate the Burnley forward line. I am not advocating shutting up shop, but if we had been more solid, then we could have easily have caught Burnley on the break, as we certainly have the forwards to hurt any defence in this league. We could have even added to our tally had the tactics been the right ones. TM speaks a good game, but then again, so did Parky. Speaking a good game and carrying out a good game plan are two entirely different things. I genuinely hope I am wrong, but I fear we will be hanging precariously to this league come next year, and that won’t be because of our stout effort, it will instead be because there are a number of teams in the division who are always going to struggle to stay up.
Ed’s Note [Martin]: The way the second half against Burnley panned out was concerning, and I’m sure if Tony Mowbray could go back to half time in that game he’d have done something differently. Their early goal changed the complextion of the game entirely, and hindsight is wonderful.
I wasn’t particularly for or against Mowbray to be honest – but when you look at the job he did over a long period of time at Blackburn you can see why we went for him, and nothing in his track record suggests we’ll be dragged into a relegation battle. He’s a very experienced manager at Championship level and players he’s managed are generally very positive about his motivational qualities and man management skills etc. That’s a more telling gauge than how he comes across in press conferences.
It’s important to take a step back and look at things in context – we’re 16 games into the season, after spending four years in the division below. This season was always going to be a tough one – we only came up through the play offs, after all. Add into that, that we’ve had no strikers available for the past seven games – Mowbray’s only had one game with Ross Stewart available – and it’s no surprise we’ve dropped off a little bit. I think any manager would have struggled to get points over the past couple of months, so to judge Mowbray on the basis of that is pretty unfair. Let’s get Stewart and Simms back fully fit, a few signings in January, and see where we get to.