Dear Roker Report,
The young boy’s photo tells you everything. That’s how I felt last night and I’m 75 years old. Heartbreaking. It took me hours to get to sleep. I watch a lot of football on TV and it's amazing how many ex-Sunderland players are still playing all over Europe. 7/8 years ago with 30 minutes to go we were winning the League Cup. Where did it all go wrong? Obviously badly ran and managed. Where do we go from here? Moved to Sunderland in 1971 and have been going to ROKER PARK and the SOL ever since. Will always renew my season ticket its in the blood. After the match last Saturday as I was leaving the SOL I told a young boy that’s what you got to look forward to. Years of hurt. He just nodded. Sad but it's true I’m sorry to say. Not many clubs in the world will get 39,000 fans After 6-0 trashing. All we ask for is a team to match our fans. PRIDE AND PASSION. KEEP THE FAITH.
Ed’s Note [Martin]: If only we had a team half as good as the fans Anthony, we’d be in a far better position than we are now.
Dear Roker Report,
It’s been quite an extraordinary couple of weeks and for all of the wrong reasons.
This season has seen the club improve in terms of results and there appeared to be a solid strategy in place for taking the club forward.
We have been consistently top 2, top 3 all season and have had chances to have opened up a commanding lead at the top of the league but sadly as in the past couple of seasons, the squad hasn’t performed well under pressure and hasn’t made the best of the opportunities presented.
The manner of Johnson’s departure and utter chaos behind the scenes has had an adverse impact on the relatively young squad that we have. I believe they could and would have bounced back again under Johnson but are sorely lacking in any direction from those in temporary charge.
The powers that be have pressed the panic button too soon. As a direct result, we are now fighting for a playoff spot, something virtually guaranteed had Johnson stayed until at least the end of the season.
Let’s hope that the new manager can get them going again and that somehow we can at least have a shot at promotion via the playoffs.
Haway the lads
Ed’s Note [Martin]: Two weeks ago, we seemed to have a calm strategy in place. Now, we’re in absolute chaos thanks to horrendous, seemingly knee-jerk decisions made by people we hoped had more sense. A fortnight ago the play offs were worst case scenario. Now, it’s best case.
Dear Roker Report,
Alright lads, me again.
I want to express my sympathy for one man by the name of Dennis Cirkin. I’ve seen a lot of criticism levelled at him since he’s come back from injury. Maybe some of it is warranted. Let’s not forget that this kid is 19 years old, this is his first season in senior football and he’s after coming back from a reasonably lengthy spell out. Add the pressure of knowing you’re the only ‘senior’ left back at the club and it starts to paint a picture of a young lad who’s gone from practically no pressure in the 23’s at Spurs to a very intense pressure of being expected to perform twice a week for our massive club. Pressure is a privilege, aye but let’s be reasonable. I think Cirkin is a confidence player, and he looks shot of that at the moment.
I think Lee Johnson/Kristjaan Speakman have a lot to answer for. I don’t think LJ was a defensive coach. I don’t think he had a defensive plan. I think he trusted the individuals to do the job on the day and that our pretty football would be enough. I’m definitely over-simplifying it but looking back throughout the season our defensive shape has been atrocious and I think Doyle and Cirkin are suffering as a result.
I agree we have not been good enough, I think we’ve lacked desire and fight. But I don’t rest the blame on our younger players. Doyle, Cirkin and Dan Neil (you can throw Embo in there as well) I think have all shown they are willing to work for the shirt, remembering that Dan Neil isn’t a combative midfielder (nor do we want him to be by the way, he’d lose so much of what makes him brilliant).
The blame rests with the others in the squad. Gooch, Winchester, Corry Evans (maybe a little unfair given he’s not had a proper uninterrupted run of games) and Flanagan (leaving the club won’t help you escape my wrath). They haven’t shown the leadership qualities we need from them, they should be shouldering the pressure for these younger players, allowing them to thrive and express themselves. But they don’t. So when we’re criticising the team, and rightly so, maybe we should go a little easier on our young’uns. This is only the start of their career, and the players around them should be looking after them a hell of a lot better. They’re trying their best, they’re still learning their trade and they’re playing way more football than should be expected of them. Most importantly they need us roaring them on. Sorry for the rant.
Sunlun ‘till we die.
Ha’way the lads.
Ed’s Note [Martin]: I think the team generally deserves criticism too, because the attitude displayed recently has been poor. However, they’re not the ones who decided to not strengthen the defence, or leave us down to the bare bones so the young players have to play week in, week out. The responsibility for that lies elsewhere.