Dear Roker Report,
I hope that all is well.
I thought that I would put forward what I have learnt so far about pre-season, while it’s still doing my head in.
I would advise everyone against going back to Portugal, and I have two reasons for this:
- The ‘power cut’ against Rangers on Saturday, at a time when we were outplaying them- I have never seen such a ‘selective’ power cut in all my life.
Why were only the floodlights in the ground affected? For those of you who have never had to deal with power cuts through your employment (something that I have), the whole ground would be on the same transformer, so how were the teams able to use the dressing rooms at half time?
I know that foreign building standards are different to ours, but again, I would be surprised if the football stadium was on its own transformer. As everyone could see, everything around the stadium was nicely lit.
2. It’s bad enough that we get robbed each season by the idiots masquerading as football referees in England, and we don’t need to go abroad and watch man-of-the-match performances from foreign referees.
How the Roma number 24 was not red carded for kicking out at Jack Clarke is incomprehensible.
The idiot was more than happy to book Sunderland players- the Luke O’Nien yellow being the the first of three that were absolute garbage. I can only defend the other two by saying that Roma were doing plenty of pulling back themselves and committing fouls that were worse than most of ours, but having booked O’Nien, the idiot then got Alex Neil to take Luke off because a Roma player ran into Luke while he was in the air!
Maybe it’s just further proof that the Special Needs One is still paying referees.
On a final note, or I suppose you could say more of a plea, could SAFSee please replace Danny Collins and Frankie Francis? I personally think that you could get more honesty out of a Tory MP.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, John, and thank you for your letter.
Sunderland’s trip to Portugal has certainly been eventful! Whether the floodlight failure on Saturday night was all part of a cleverly-executed ruse to prevent us from beating Rangers, or simply a case of the meter running out of coins, we’ll never know, but it certainly brought the game to a suitably bizarre end.
Regarding the Roma game, from what I read and heard, it was quite a feisty affair, and I suspect many fans never thought they’d see the day when Luke O’Nien was crossing swords with Jose Mourinho. Perhaps this kind of test was exactly what we needed, and hopefully it might give our players a little bit of extra toughness as we continue our preparations for the new season.
On the subject of SAFSee’s coverage of games, I do think the commentary could be better. Having grown up with the likes of Gary Rowell and Simon Crabtree on commentary, the current offering doesn’t match up, in my opinion, and maybe it’s something that should be addressed by the club.
Dear Roker Report,
I am still on a high from our playoff trilogy.
From being part of the Spirit of ‘37 group that helped (albeit a tiny part by the time I got to the stadium) in creating a brilliant display & atmosphere for the semi-final first leg.
After Patrick Roberts’ goal at Hillsborough, Trafalgar Square, and of course, Wembley Stadium, I am still buzzing & I cannot wait for the first game of the new season.
Hopefully by the time we kick off, Ross Stewart will have signed a new contract and we will have at least two more strikers in the squad to further enhance our options. I am pretty sure that the powers that be are well aware of this, and are working diligently to make it happen.
The business the club have done so far, with the signings of Roberts, Jack Clarke & Daniel Ballard, as well as new contracts for Lynden Gooch, Anthony Patterson & Bailey Wright is excellent, and illustrates that in terms of recruitment, this club is moving forward and has a very clear strategy.
I’ll remain patient for the new signings, and I am positive that we will have a very good season.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Paul. Thank you for getting in touch!
The ‘Spirit of ‘37’ group did a fabulous job with their display at the home leg of the playoff semi-final, and from what we already know, we can expect many more displays for the coming season, which will certainly add to the matchday experience.
Regarding player recruitment, I fully agree that a new contract for Ross Stewart would be huge, as would sufficient backup for him.
We cannot, and should not, be totally reliant on Stewart as our main source of goals in the Championship, and like yourself, I am confident that we will bring the right players in by the time the window closes. There is a much more measured recruitment strategy being utilised right now, and that is very encouraging.