Dear Roker Report,
Like most of your views, I was never one of the Johnson out brigade, and when he got things right we were superb but boy we had some howlers. The last game review of December 2021 against Wednesday was a perfect all-round 10/10 and a month later 0/10 - what happened.
He was so nearly right, fewer draws but too many heavy defeats.
As to replacement, if the news about a Defoe return are to be believed is it too left field, or risky to suggest a Defoe link up with an “ old head “ - Allardyce, McCarthy or even Reid as a preparation for the future.
After all if Roy is favoured to keep one team out of the Championship could another “ oldie “ get us over the line?
Ed’s Note [Rich]: We need to look forward not backwards as a club, Andrew. Those managers - Reidy excepted - gave us short periods of hope followed by the inevitable drift to mediocrity (or like Big Sam - an injection of grit but no long term transformation). Personally, I hope they appoint someone we know little if nothing about, someone whose catchy nickname doesn’t follow him from his previous job.
If there’s one thing I’ll say about Lee Johnson is that he had us playing some superb football, he modernised our approach to the game and I’d be so gutted if we want back to aimless direct play and “getting it into the mixer” out of some misplaced nostalgia trip.
Dear Roker Report,
Sorry right, decision taken last three games scored two conceded nine that is shocking. Bolton defeat it’s only three points sealed his faint arrogance to the end. Basic management one striker for the last fourteen months on his own why? Bad management did not sign pace or physical players for this league.
So who now? Rumours saying Duncan Ferguson. In my eyes, an excellent appointment heart and soul committed strong character like Roy Keane - bring him in.
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Nice to hear from you as always, Mark. Big Dunc is by all accounts an excellent coach with great experience of being in and around top sides. If he is the choice of Speakman and Louis-Dreyfus, however, he’ll have to fit in with their plan and their methods otherwise it won’t be a long and prosperous partnership, For some reason, he doesn’t strike me as the kind of fella who will implement someone else’s philosophy.
Dear Roker Report,
Unless we solve our defensive problems there is no way we will go up this season.
Following another abject defeat, this time to Bolton, I cannot believe that some basic issues have not been addressed this season.
Our goalkeeper is not equipped to deal with this division. He is terrified to come off his line and doesn’t dominate his box or come for crosses. He doesn’t organise his defence. I know he is young and playing in a different country and I think he shows promise in some areas of his game. Sadly if you have a GK who lacks confidence and assertiveness, it impacts upon the whole defence and they will make errors.
The GK position has cost us dearly in recent years, indeed ever since Pickford left.
I welcomed the signing of Danny Batth who I hoped would bring strength and experience into our defence. However, played alongside Doyle, we have no pace and teams can run through us at will.
I don’t understand why we have bought a new fullback and don’t play him! I know he is young and lacks experience but surely he must be better than Winchester has been recently.
Jean Cole (A Sunderland supporter for 60+ years)
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for writing in Jean. I’m sure whoever the new Head Coach is will want to assess the relative talents of all the players at their disposal. Unfortunately for you, the window closed with no additional goalkeeper being brought in - so it will be between Burge and Hoffmann for that spot between the sticks until the end of the season. I personally think the young German has a lot to offer - I like his distribution and he has pulled off some great stops. But you’re absolutely right to say that our defensive record is not good enough, and will be the key to whether we go up or not.