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Fan Letters: “Tony Mowbray did an amazing job for Blackburn,” says Burnley fan Jim

The darkness and light of football fandom are on show in today’s mixed mailbag. Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I think the problem of away fans throwing things down on the home fans in the North Stand must be sorted ASAP., as the latter’s safety is paramount. However, I believe the only solution is netting and keep the away fans where they are.

A lot of our fans seem to think the solution is as simple as putting the away fans back in the South Stand. However, why should the home fans, in that area, of which I am one, be inconvienenced by being moved? I bought my season ticket there because it is a better atmosphere. I have sat in all parts of the ground over the years and there is little atmosphere other than the South Stand. The atmosphere in there for Sheff Wed in the play offs was electric plus the lower tiers also looked good on tv for that match. I certainly don’t want to be moved to any of the quieter areas.

The fans who also want the away fans moved back to the South Stand seem to think this will solve all of the issues related to the away fans throwing objects. In my opinion, it won’t, as the only difference is they will throw them sideways as opposed to downwards. If a fan is stupid enough to throw things then they will, regardless of where they sit. An example of this is, I was at Bolton away this year and I was on the lower level near the home fans who were also on the same level and those idiots were throwing plastic bottles half full of pop and the plastic bits of the vapes. Both my son and I were hit. There was also a line of police officers who did nothing to stop them. The only thing they did was go and put the helmets on from their riot gear. They were only concerned about their own safety. On the day, I only saw Sunderland fans being escorted out by the police and stewards. One officer was recording it but I can only assume nothing happened, as I never saw anything relating to it later.

Protect the home fans in the North Stand by putting netting up before the next home match.


Peter Welsh

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for writing in as always, Peter. It’s really worrying that you and your son were hit in the rain of debris coming down from the top tier at the Stadium of Light last week. The club knew this was an issue, they knew about the risks, they know what the potentail solutions are and, so far, I’m yet to see an argument as to why the netting has not been installed.

Sunderland v Burnley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

To the “fan” bemoaning the signing of Tony Mowbray may I point out that he is your 13th manager in 10 years. How much money have Sunderland squandered on paying off managers in this time? Think of the quality of the players Sunderland have missed out on because of this. Do you not think that now is the time to back your new manager and give him time to:

1) Have a fully fit squad to pick from.

2) Get the squad used to his tactics and selections.

3) Have a minimum of 2 years to show what he can do.

4) Remove the revolving door from the manager’s office.

Tony Mowbray did an amazing job for the horse botherers (you may replace this phrase with Blackburn, if it may cause offence) with transfer embargoes and no money to bring in the players he wanted. Even now in 3rd position in the Championship the majority of the team is comprised of loans and youth team players, so I doubt they will be able to sustain this over the season. Especially as they have lost 7 games already, compared to Burnley’s 1.

I confess that I was angered by the morons who thought it acceptable behaviour to throw items at the home fans below, if I had been present I would not have hesitated to collar them myself and hand them over to the authorities. There is no excuse for this behaviour at a football match.

Thankfully our Chairman, Alan Pace, is a worthy man, and was quick to apologise and will most certainly ban anyone found to have participated in the throwing of objects. I believe an 8 year old girl was hurt in the incident and I sincerely hope it hasn’t put her off following her team.

To put your manager merry-go-round into perspective, while Sunderland have had 13 managers, Burnley have had just 2. Sean Dyche was our manager for just short of 10 years and we have him to thank for the Barnfield Training Centre at Gawthorpe being built. This has given our new manager, Vincent Kompany, the perfect setting to attract the players he wants and to help them progress to the levels he requires.

I was pleased to read about the reception that our travelling fans received from the good people of Sunderland and have memories of the friendliness between our fans over the last 50 odd years. I’m sure there’s more than one pensioner remembers drinking ale from Masseys brewery in Burnley, as I remember drinking Vaux ale.

May I wish your club well for the forthcoming season, and patience from your fans. If you finish this season in the top half of the Championship then you should be proud of the progress and consolidation in this league.

My very best regards to all at Sunderland,

Jim Whittaker

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for bringing your perspective on Mogga, Jim. It’s nice to know that he’s held in such regard by you, even as he was manager of your big local rivals for such a long time. He’s certainly a good man, and for me he has a lovely mix of both tradition and modernity that suits our club down a tee.

Dear Roker Report,

I fully concur with the fans comments about TM. If we stick with this manager we seriously risk being relegated this season. We had a brilliant start to the season and it was a serious blow when we lost a really good manager who for the first time in decades actually demonstrated tactical ability.

He left because he didn’t get the personal or financial support his obvious abilities deserved. TM was brought in I believe mainly because the Directors of SAFC knew they could control and manipulate him.

He was unlucky to lose both of our strikers but any decent manager would have insisted a replacement was brought in. TM didn’t and our tremendous start to the season has now been wasted. He talks about the first half of the season not being important and the second half critical. This proves to me he has no understanding of momentum in sport.

I hope I am proved wrong but suspect we will deeply regret his appointment.


David Anderson

Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for writing in, David. As we always say on these pages, this is a game of opinions and we’re all entitled to them. But we also always try to bring an element of fairness and perspective to the table. So in the interests of this, let me push back a little.

One question that critics often fail to answer is, which centre forward could Mowbray have insisted the club bring in with the transfer window closed? I’m yet to see a convincing case being made for any of the free agents still on the market.

You claim he was recruited because he could be manipulated by the board, but everything on the pitch demostrates that he’s just been allowed to get on and do the job that he’s employed to do. You claim Alex Neil left because he wasn’t backed in the market, yet we have signed some of the best young players from Premier League academies and Neil has taken a job at a club that is under a transfer emgargo - a club that’s much closer to his family home!

Mowbray has managed 800 games of professional but you claim he doesnt understand the concept of momentum in sport, I think he’s probably forgotten more about football this weekend that either you or I will ever know. You wrote in before Saturday’s Lads’ match, but the momentum change his substitutions gave the side in the second half provides a decent example to counter your view.

Before the Luton game he spoke to Nick Barnes and said “I can’t listen to 40,000 opinions of fans when selecting a team”. I’m glad he was the one doing it, and I do hope that the second half performance at Luton - 59% possession, 16 shots, loads of attacking players brought on that made the difference in the end - may have altered your opinion a just little.


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