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Sunderland v AS Roma - Pre-Season Friendly

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Fan Letters: Are you worried about Sunderland’s transfer business so far?

We have football finances, Sunderland’s transfer business and our patience with young players all discussed in the latest RR mailbag! Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am fairly ancient so I guess the financial route that Football and other sporting businesses are taking might not concern me too much, but if I was a younger sport loving person then I would be seriously concerned that I was about to be priced out of the leisure pursuits that I love.

I am told that the Forum is for football only, but it is no good putting our heads in the sand and ignoring issues that are increasingly impacting in a negative way on the sport that we enjoy. The financial issues that are increasing virtually every day are huge. Some people might not think so but let me give some details.

Chelsea football club have taken on board £800m debt and that is likely to be increased substantially by the Yankee owners, Manchester City have a debt level of $600m taken on by the Arab owners, and I doubt that the debt level taken on by the Glazer USA family at Manchester United is much less. What the eventual finances will be 12 miles to the North goodness knows.

What the effect will be on other clubs and their fans is a worry.

We, the fans, at SAFC have seen the problems that can be caused by the lack of financial control, and borne the pleasure of four seasons in the mickey mouse league because of that lackadaisical approach.

Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 1st Leg
How will Kyril Louis-Dreyfus prepare for potential changes in the world of football finance?
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

So where now? I think the inevitable consequence of this financial drift will be much higher prices for SCs, and I mean really higher prices with lowest SCs being close to a thousand pounds. Fans may not accept this, but for that not to happen will be for the club and fans to accept a norm of playing in lower leagues. Some may well accept that, in fact one or two have expressed that on this Forum. One outcome that I would accept would be the return to regional football, with fixture against Shields, Bishops etc that might be more fun.

The impact of the UK economy and wage levels will of course determine what the fans will be able to afford but here we are in uncharted territory, with inflation being a major problem. Also, figures just announced today show interest payment on UK debt levels now amount to £2000 per person per year. This will eventually have an effect on tax, so take home pay, which is what matters, will be reduced.

This might sound a bit gloomy but the facts are there for all to see, however I do appreciate that others may see a different picture.


Mordey St

Ed’s Note [Chris]: The fears you have described are very real, but have been around for the last thirty years at least. The creation of the Premier League and the globalization of the sport has meant the financial side of the game has only gone in one direction.

There have been many predictions that the football bubble will burst and it seemed to me that the attempted creation of a breakaway European Super League by the op clubs recently was an attempt to safeguard and maximise the riches that they currently generate.

Some pundits predict that this is inevitable, which would then leave potential for restructuring of what remains. The people’s reaction meant that their efforts were thwarted first time around but ultimately it will depend on where the demand will be in the future, in terms of making the most money, that will end up dictating which direction things will head.

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League - Old Trafford
The influence of the fans has been felt at Manchester United towards the owners - will this scene become more familiar at top level clubs?
Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

In every transfer windows I am always a bit worried since Sunderland transfer business is so slow and late. I see we manage to get a few new players and miss out on others.

Defence and midfield will be OK, I guess. A New keeper will come. I guess all of us are a bit worried regarding the striker situation. What if we lose Ross Stewart? We are all hoping for Broadhead to sign.

According to the rumours we are looking at Cameron Archer from Aston Villa, Troy Parrot from Tottenham and Reda Khadra from Brighton – we don’t know if any of these will be materialized, and all will be on loan.

Why not look at the League we just came from? Top scorer table in League One last season: Will Keane (Wigan) 26, Stewart 24, Cole Stockton (Morecambe) 23 and Alfie May (Cheltenham) 23. I don’t think Wigan will sell Keane, but what about Stockton or May?

Cheltenham Town v Gillingham - Sky Bet League 1
Would Alfie May from Cheltenham Town be a useful addition up top for Sunderland?
Photo by Kieran Riley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

That many goals achieved from strikers for teams that struggled in the wrong end of the table!

Shouldn’t SAFC buy one of these guys or both? This Stockton guy seems good - may be at least at Stewart’s level. They should be able to put in 15 goals per season at Championship Level?

Anybody who has Alex Neil’s or Speakman’s e-mail address and can give them a hint about this (no brainer)? As an old Norwegian Mackem (Sunderland fan since the late sixties), we hope for some good and quick transfer business.


Ed’s Note [Chris]: It’s a strange summer transfer window for quite a few reasons. In general, clubs are trying to plan while keeping in mind there is a World Cup midway through the season during the winter months. It’s usually the bigger deals at the top that happen that starts a chain reaction of other deals taking place that cascade down the pyramid, many of which free up younger players that can go out on-loan.

For Sunderland specifically, we lost three weeks, of an already shortened window, due to participating in the play-offs. Then on top of that, we were waiting on players to sign new contracts to be able to fully plan ahead.

In terms of the specific point about League One strikers who have performed well, you may well be right and they could well be decent options to score a few at this level, but it seems like the club are heading down a different route to get more value for money with the potential of having re-sale value further down the line.

If I remember correctly, there were similar concerns last season and we went out and won seven of the first nine. You just never know and I faith at the moment that Alex Neil would make sure he had what he required to kick-off the new season. Time will tell.

Sunderland v AS Roma - Pre-Season Friendly
Alex Neil
Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

When are we going to stop criticising our own young players?

Dajaku may not be the next Ronaldo, but he deserves a chance. He’s only been at the club two minutes - so lay off him, let him get on with it and reserve judgement till the end of the season.

Gerald Simpson

Ed’s Note [Chris]: It has been a growing trend to give players a bit of stick after a few games or a few dodgy performances. Maybe it was always like this but social media has amplified the whole thing?

The example that springs to mind from last season was Corry Evans who was booed off the pitch at one point and by the end of the season was integral to the side that gained promotion.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty rare that a player turns it around like Evans does once he gets on the wrong side of the fans, so a bit of patience would be nice to see, especially when it comes to the younger players.

Sunderland v AS Roma - Pre-Season Friendly
Leon Dajaku
Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images


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