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Dundee United v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly

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Fan Letters: “Let’s hear the roar when we walk out to face Coventry!”

A rallying cry for next Sunday, transfer concerns, and more issues with the ticketing system are in the RR mailbox today. Got something to say? Email us! RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk

Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m just sick and tired of the moaners.

I know everyone is entitled to an opinion, but we have just got out of League One, and all we do is moan about football tops. If you don’t like them, don’t buy them!

Also, the moaning about lack of signings. We need to target quality, not quantity, and I’m positive that we’ll get some good signings before the window shuts.

Let’s look forward to Sunday’s match and get behind the lads. I’m sure that they will react the same way as they did at the end of last season, especially at Wembley. Let’s hear the big roar when they come out on Sunday, and send Coventry back to Coventry empty handed.

Good luck!

Anthony DeGiovanni

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Emotions often run high at this stage of the year, as we start to think about how the new season will go, and every issue seems to becomes a major one.

I honestly do believe that, when kickoff comes around on Sunday, everyone will be fully together and ready to roar the Lads on. The buildup is often nervy and anxious, but come matchday, I’m sure things will be much more optimistic!

Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off S-F Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am surprised at Alex Neil’s assessment of the Accrington game.

He failed to point out that this type of form will be punished in the Championship.

We all know what an unforgiving league it can be. Teams can be on the fringes of the playoffs one month, and then in the relegation zone the next.

From what we’ve seen during pre-season, I don’t think that Carl Winchester, Luke O’Nien and Elliot Embleton are Championship material.

Ross Stewart was prolific up to the end of 2021, but less so for the second half of the season, possibly due to the fact that defenders had a better handle on him. And this was in League One.

We need to hit the ground running, and even if players arrive this week, the team face a massive task on Sunday. We need to beat teams like Coventry at home because as I pointed out, the Championship is an unforgiving league.

Regards,

Andrew Hadfield

Ed’s Note [Phil]: I do agree that the Championship will certainly be a tougher league than we have been used to for four years, but I am also convinced that Alex Neil will have the players fully prepared and ready for the task.

Regarding the players you mentioned, I think that Carl Winchester is the only one who may not be able to make the step up. Luke O’Nien and Elliot Embleton will have major roles to play this season, and Ross Stewart certainly has the talent to cause issues for defences.

Ultimately, time will tell!

Dundee United v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I am writing to see if you can somehow find a way through the mess they call the SAFC ticket office.

I have followed this club for over fifty years, and apart from unforeseen illnesses, I have had a season ticket for the vast majority of that time.

This year is an exception. I face a big operation in September and I won’t be able to walk properly for at least three months afterwards. With that in mind, I did not resume my season ticket and I had hoped I could pick games as and when I was up to it.

No such luck.

I have tried contacting the ticket office on at least a dozen occasions during the last two weeks, and I have emailed them a number of times. I even left a message with the security people to pass on. I had hoped to take my grandson to his first Sunderland match, but I have had no joy whatsoever in getting through.

They advertise ticket office opening times, and when you get there, there is a sign on the door saying ‘closed’. They want everyone to go online and book, but I do not want to do it that way. I prefer talking to a person as I want to minimise mistakes. I am also old-fashioned, and I should have a choice.

I have now given up and I am so disgusted with this appalling lack of customer care, that I will not be going back at all this season. We have also lost my grandson to the Mags, as his Dad is going to take him to their first home game, so I have no doubt that he will now follow in the footsteps of his father.

So well done SAFC, for a complete lack of care for older customers who have followed you for decades. I just needed to talk to someone to ensure I had the right kind of seat, taking into account my health and general lack of mobility at the moment.

Then again, why should I be surprised? Football is now lost to the fans and is, without doubt, a different and uncaring set-up to how I and doubtless thousands of others remember it.

Peter Milton

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi Peter. Thank you for getting in touch.

The issue of tickets and the ticket office itself is one that many fans have contacted us to discuss. It is extremely sad that a long-time fan such as yourself hasn’t received the kind of service that should be standard at a club like ours.

Chris Waters, the club’s liaison officer, does a superb job in helping fans with enquiries, but he seems to be carrying that load on his own. The entire setup regarding customer care and fan engagement is substandard at this moment, and I do hope that it can be resolved, and that you will be back at the Stadium of Light this season.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

As I write this email, we are one week from the start of the season.

Even if we sign Nathan Broadhead, it is a weaker team than finished fifth in League One, with numbers out greater than numbers in.

Am I the only fan who is worried? It is hard to keep the faith.

Gerald Kearney

Ed’s Note [Phil]: I don’t think that you are the only fan who is concerned about our current squad. There has been a lot of discussion about how many players we need, and the level of quality we should be targeting.

I am certain that deals will be being worked on behind the scenes, however, and that by the time the window closes, we will have a squad that can compete at this level!

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Attracting big signings in the North East has always been an issue, partly due to financial constraints and also because not a lot of footballers want to play up north, because of a misguided view of the North East.

Steve Langford

Ed’s Note [Phil] Hi, Steve.

It is an interesting point that you make.

When he took over as manager, Roy Keane famously said that he felt players were attracted to London clubs because their wives and girlfriends were looking for places to go shopping!

He might well have had a point, and the issue moving forward is how Sunderland, as both a club and a city, can be viewed as an attractive place for players to come and play football. It is achievable, but the competition will be fierce.

Winter weather Jan 12th 2022 Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

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