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Fan Letters: “Ballard’s arrival is a real statement - let’s have faith in the recruitment team!”

“The signing of Dan Ballard should hopefully shut up the naysayers who have zero faith in the club’s recruitment team, and think that they know best,” says RR reader John. Drop us an email: - have your say!

Sunderland AFC

Dear Roker Report,

The signing of Dan Ballard should hopefully shut up the naysayers who have zero faith in the club’s recruitment team, and think that they know best.

It’s a sign that we are heading in the right direction and investing in the best young talent available to us. Ballard is proven at this level and was courted by a recently relegated Premier League side team in Burnley, for whom he would have signed for last week if there hadn’t been issues with the price.

Top work Mr Speakman and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, and more of the same, thank you!

John Clennell.

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, John, and thank you for your letter.

I totally agree that Ballard’s arrival is a very positive and encouraging piece of business. He comes with a very good reputation, and having twice captained Arsenal to an F.A Youth Cup final, it would seem that he has superb leadership credentials, as well.

The fact that we have beaten off competition from rival clubs for his signature is significant, and it shows that we are a very attractive prospect for young players.

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I can’t believe the ridiculous opposition to gambling fermented by your article.

Just because a small minority of people are too weak of mind or character to resist excessive gambling, it doesn’t mean the majority should be deprived of the enjoyment of a little flutter.

To many, it’s an additional factor in their enjoyment & involvement with a sport or a team.

The type of gamblers your outraged contributors describe would still find ways to financially ruin themselves, irrespective of which sponsor’s name appeared on the team shirt.

Perhaps these social puritans would be better served by advocating complete bans on fans travelling to games on motorised transport, in the name of saving the planet? The exercise would certainly stimulate their appetite and thirst.

This leads me on to the issue of fast food on sale both outside & inside the ground itself, which is far more harmful than gambling. Also, let’s ban alcohol while we’re at it- I’m sure the ‘puritans’ will like that.

The ‘perpetually outraged’ in society are forever looking at ways to spoil the enjoyment of others. Please just take a chill pill, shut up & enjoy the football.

Chris Salmon (A Rovers fan - delighted you’re back)

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

The issue of gambling sponsorships in football is a complex and sensitive one, and we have attempted to offer a balanced view, and provide a platform for different opinions from our team of writers.

The point you make about enjoyment of the occasional bet is a valid one, but there is no doubt that it can spiral out of control quickly, and the wall-to-wall advertising of betting companies throughout football can certainly lead people into bad and destructive habits.

The main issue with the glamorous and eye-catching nature of these betting adverts is the possibility of them luring young, impressionable fans into the world of betting, and running the risk of starting a habit that can be very difficult to break.

The old adage of ‘when the fun stops, stop’ may sound simple and easy to do in practice, but not everyone has strong self-discipline, and this was a point that we attempted to highlight and expand upon.

Fleetwood Town v Oxford United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus

Dear Roker Report,

Strongly against on this one.

I would personally ban all gambling adverts, because they are certainly not something that SAFC should have anything to do with.

Ken Rennoldson.

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Ken.

Personally, I have mixed views on our connections to gambling adverts and sponsorships. I don’t gamble myself, but I appreciate that many people see it as a source of excitement and a way to liven up the matchday experience.

Sunderland are certainly not alone in associating themselves with such firms (as a glance at many EFL football shirts demonstrates) but it is easy to see why emblazoning our home shirt with a betting company’s logo can divide opinion. It is a difficult balancing act, without a doubt.


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