Dear Roker Report,
Absolutely buzzing to finally witness a Sunderland win under the arch and boy was it worth the wait! We’ve been through some crap over the last few years but this team, this manager just seem to have injected the feel good back into the club and the city.
Without doubt my best ever game following the lads and one that’ll live long in the memory. Drink it in, savour it, and let’s keep this party going for a little while longer yet.
HA’WAY THE LADS!!
Ed’s Note: It was mint. Totally mint. We’re all still buzzing.
Dear Roker Report,
I’m old enough to remember Roker Park, and the Peter Reid years - Being 4 v 0 up at halftime against Chelsea, 48,000 average gates - to know this is just the start of our revival.
As great and as emotional as Sunday was, it was only the turning point of this big ship to get us back where we desire to be, and where we belong.
Of course, the team needs to be addressed, as does the ownership spectre, but for me, the infrastructure is crying out to be sorted right now.
People can’t buy Sunderland strips or hats and scarfs!? People can’t buy a season ticket at the moment even though the demand must be high. My wife couldn’t buy me a brick for the wall of fame for my birthday. I’ve wanted to take my son on a stadium tour for over 2 years now- still not back online.
Come on Sunderland! The team and supporters are trying to make us proud, why can’t you sort the staffing out, and act like a big club!?
[An Exile season ticket holder in Worcestershire]
Ed’s Note: I think everyone is still a bit drunk, to be honest. But you’re right, although the season cards are now back on sale, there’s loads of opportunities for the club to ride this wave and to keep the momentum going throughout the summer. One or two big annoucements would be great to see.
Dearest Roker Report,
I am a school teacher and I can’t wait for the celeb status tomorrow as I was plastered on sky shouting my lungs out for the lads!
Breathe it in! Inject it!!
HAWAY THE LADS!!!
Ed’s Note: Thanks for writing in Ryan. I really hope you and the kids enjoyed it, there’s nowt like going back and reliving a great victory like that with everyone back home.
Dear Roker Report,
My overwhelming feeling this morning is not celebration, jubilation or elation, it is merely relief. I’m just relieved we finally got over the line after 4 miserable seasons. 2018-19 was the only one I half-enjoyed, when I thought we would go up automatically at the first attempt and Josh Maja was banging the goals in like a young Jermain Defoe.
Now though, all focus of the club, from KLD, Speakman, Alex Neil et al downwards, should swing to how the hell we are gonna survive in the championship. We have several players on loan and several out of contract. We need to rebuild, fully and urgently, and we need to do it quickly because the summer will fly over in the blink of an eye, and the first game of the new season will be here before you know it.
The thing that has annoyed me a lot over the last 4 seasons has been the constant chopping and changing of the starting 11 and formation. It’s no wonder we’ve been so inconsistent. I want to see Alex Neil choose a system, a formation, and a way of playing, and stick to it. Just stick to it. And decide what his strongest starting 11 is and, as much as possible, stick to it.
I’d like to see Neil decide whether to go with a back 4 or back 3, and stick with it. We’ve changed so much between the two options, I think that has contributed to our defensive frailty over the last 4 seasons. We need to spend a lot of money this summer. It’s time for KLD to put his money where his mouth is. Get in the players that Neil wants to suit his system, and give us the best possible chance of survival and a mid-table finish.
I’m already fearful of what next season will bring. We need to get cracking on spending money now.
Ed’s Note: Cheers for your letter, Benji. I totally agree that the ownership and contract situations need sorting ASAP. Nothing would be more welcome than the annoucement that Donald & Methven are no longer shareholders and Alex Neil has signed a three year deal as men’s head coach having been promised an injection of significant funds into the playing budget.
However, I can’t get on board with the second point. Surely chopping and changing starting elevens is par for the course these days when you’ve got almost 60 games a season and players running 10k a match. I’d rather have 18 players fighting for 11 shirts, each with something slightly different to offer so we can cope with different oppositions and situations, than a set formation and line-up. Neil has proven that horses for courses - playing the players and the formation that will work against particular opposition works.
Lastly, spending vast amounts of money and spending it quickly (I’m thinking back to last summer and all that noise about not having got business done early) - especially on transfer fees - isn’t always the route to success in the Championship. I don’t care where the new players come from - if they’re out of contract elsewhere and chose to play for us then all the better - all I want is for us to continue to add further quality to the already strong squad who’ve achieved this promotion.
Dear Roker Report,
An emotionally draining day, I have three memories from yesterday, £9.00 for a burger, crying like a baby when both goals went in, my teeth flew out and hit the bloke in front when celebrating the first goal!
[55 years red n white]
Ed’s Note: Wonderful memories, Anthony. Paying £7 for a pint and £3.10 for a can of coke will always stick with me too... but it was worth the hit to the bank balance just to be there.