Dear Roker Report,
In my opinion, Speakman has made a complete & utter shambles of this club, it’s got nothing to do with who owns the club but with who’s running the football side of it & that’s Speakman & it’s a comedy of errors:-
1. Gets rid of long term kit man John Cooke (ex player). Cooke’s son, decent player by all accounts, says sod this & jumps ship to the hated Mags.
2. Sacks Johnson & has no replacement lined up (laughing stock of the EFL).
3. Doesn’t listen to the majority shareholder or the supporters & won’t give Roy Keane what he want’s because of Speakman’s ego.
4. Get’s Alex Neil as manager - no one else wanted him so we’ll have him says Speakman. The first 2 or 3 games proves Neil hasn’t a clue either as he dithers over making substitutions & opposition take advantage of his indecision.
5. Gets rid of Kevin Ball (probably), why else would he leave after all these years other than Speakman sees him as a threat as he’s loved by the supporter’s & knowing Bally he probably told him & Donald & Methven what a total ball’s up they’re making of the club.
6. Player recruitment & sales are complete & utter shambles - getting rid of players we should keep & bringing in crap replacements as a whole.
Result: Another season in League 1 after being in pole position for automatic promotion before Xmas - KLD needs to sack Speakman get Bally back at the club & beg Keane to become manager or give Nigel Clough a go as I think he’d jump at the chance to manage SAFC & would do a decent job, as he’s done OK! Everywhere else he’s been with little or no money.
Hey, we’ve got nothing to lose - WHY NOT!
Ed’s Note [Rich]: You’ve made a fair few huge assumptions based on very limited information there, Dave. You and I know precisely nothing about what was said by whom to whom, and for what reason decisions where made during the managerial recruitment process. We know nowt other than its length and the formal procedure as set out in the Structured Dialogue meeting last week, and this is entirely as it should be. You might be annoyed that Keane didn’t get the job, personally I’m relieved he didn’t - but that’s a matter of opinion.
I do agree that Kristjaan Speakman has made some massive errors over the last few weeks, sacking a manager who was doing pretty well and a high-risk transfer window, and his performance needs to be reviewed at the end of the season by the board (who need to take their own share of the flak too), but one man is not responsible for all the ills at the club.
On the future of Alex Neil - ha’way, man! He’s been in the role for two weeks, and has taken a step down the pyramid to come to Sunderland! Are you really suggesting awe sack yet another manager? We’ve every right to be angry and frustrated but deary me, when you’re at the bottom of a hole you really shouldn’t keep digging.
Dear Roker Report,
I only met Keith once whilst going into the Fans Museum for the first time after a game a month or so ago. He came up to us (my wife and two kids) and asked if we were ok and if we needed any help.
We ended up talking and he showed us around the upstairs stock archive and he was so genuine and sweet. We talked about his friendship with SuperKev and we ended up swapping numbers, and I ended up buying a nice signed pic of Gates and Gabbi for my Sunderland wall at home. It’s the small things that make people big.
Whenever I look at my beloved Sunderland Memorabilia on my wall and specifically the Gates and Gabbi signed pic, I’ll think of Keith.
Thanks big man!
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Thanks for your letter, James. Keith Havelock was a popular figure at the Fan Museum and will be sorely missed by his family, friends, visitors, colleagues, and the rest of the Sunderland community. There’s so much tragedy in the world right now, it does put into perspective some of the more mundane concerns of football supporters when loved ones are taken too soon.
Dear Roker Report
On Speakman, I agree he seems to have sacked Johnson without any planning for replacement and spent days to draw up candidates.
Why did Roy Keane refuse? Could he have no respect to be responsible to Speakman. I agree with you get rid - how many more think the same?
Can you collect how many think the same>
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Hi Tom. Your guess is as good as mine about what went on with Roy Keane, why the recruitment process wasn't underway when they knew they were getting rid of Lee Johnson, and all that. It smacks of inexperience - we can only hope it’s been a steep learning curve and that improvements will be made in the future.
Dear Roker Report
Wow, where do I start!
Born in Pallion 73 years ago, I moved very early to Harrogate and traveled to Roker Park every home match when I acquired a car, was at Wembley 73 along with many other Wembley visits.
I fondly remember FA cup matches against man it’d in the sixties, drew at Roker Sunderland winning until last kick when Man Utd equalised, at old Trafford Sunderland winning 3-1 in extra time and Man Utd scored two goals in last 90 seconds to take it to Huddersfield for replay. Nick Sharkey scored then Dennis Law scored 4 times with Man Utd winning 5-1 - incredible memory.
I was at Leeds in FA Cup in the sixties - a replay at Roker Park many thousands mingling around looking for tickets, the gates at Roker End broke open and it was estimated over 80,000 where inside the ground; replay at Hull where with Jonny Crossan and George Herd sent off disputing a clear referee decision. We lost 1-0 to the hated Leeds. I could go on recalling great occasions.
NEVER in all my 73 years have I seen SAFC in such a mess, my heart bleeds but I shall carry on supporting my beloved Sunderland!
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for your memories. I’m also a Pallion lad originally, and I remember my Great Uncle, another man called Kenneth, telling me all about the Manchester United replays - he was a United fan, married to my Great Aunt from Sunderland - and he told me the tale as we walked to the game at Old Trafford in 1992. It was my first away game - a 3-0 loss for the Lads - and we bumped into Matt Busby in the car park.
Ups and downs, highs and lows - this club will always give us memories and stories to tell, generation after generation. Keeping the faith, keeping the tradition going, is what it’s all about no matter what mess the club has managed to get itself into.
Dear Roker Report,
I’m 53 years old, I’ve watched and I’ve attended Sunderland matches for 45 years most of which I’ve had a season ticket, but this last month has pushed me over the edge and I’ve decided not to renew my and my 3 sons season tickets next year.
I just can’t bear to watch my beloved club becoming the laughing stock of the north east anymore, the disgraceful January transfer window, and the slyness of the madrox group and KLD deceiving us fans just tops the lot.
I live in North Yorkshire and I’m surrounded by Middlesbrough fans even they have stopped teasing me... why bother we just a well-supported league 1 team who will never get out of this league with current ownership, and no I can’t keep the faith as I have none left to keep.
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheer for your letter, Lee. We all have to make our own decisions about these things, but my view has always been that we should support the side through thick and thin. The hard times make the good times even sweeter. But it’s totally understandable if you’ve had enough; loads of people stopped going because we dropped out of the Premier League, so I guess you’ve done well to stick it out this long. I’m sure you and your sons will be welcomed back with open arms when we do get back to winning ways.