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Fan Letters: Hopefully this is the last time anyone emails us about Al*x Ne*l...

More ranting and raving about the man who left Sunderland behind for the sunlit uplands of Stoke-on-Trent. Email us:

Dear Roker Report,

I heard two lads yacking on in the toilet at the match on Saturday, it was basically: “Well we’ve had a couple of good months” - it made me chuckle.

I have just read that Alex Neil has been appointed as manager of Stoke City, not head coach as he was here - two different jobs, I’m led to believe.

It's been painful these last few days, hopes dashed for this 61-year-old (for the time being hopefully).

What I'm trying to say is that the bloke wanted to be in full control, Stoke have given him that. It’s over now as far as I’m concerned, onwards and upwards.

But a hostile atmosphere awaits him at the SOL - I HOPE HE UNDERSTANDS THAT.

Anthony Lynn

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I was gutted when everything came out on Friday but I got over it pretty quickly. My priority is my football club and if someone doesn’t want to be here, let them sod off and we’ll crack on without them. Alex Neil did a brilliant job with us but he was here for six months - I’m not totally in love with the bloke. Thanks, and goodbye.

Dear Roker Report,

It’s time to stop all the moans and groans about losing Alex Neil to Stoke. After all, he’s not Pep Guardiola and never will be, so let’s move on after this final analysis of him.

What really are his achievements as a manager? He managed a Scottish club that with all due respect were the equivalent to an English fourth division club or third at very best.

He then landed the Norwich job because they wanted someone who they could pay peanuts for and after a couple of years he got sacked.

Four months later he was manager of Preston North End and what did he achieve with them in nearly four years. Nothing, so he was sacked again.

Then just under one year later while being unemployed, we picked him up off the scrap heap and the rest is history.

Now I know there are many Sunderland supporters and football correspondents saying that he is by far the best manager we’ve had for quite some time and I agree. But he’s only the best manager we’ve had in a long time, because all the previous ones were utterly and completely useless.

Now despite his lack of loyalty, I do appreciate he got us out of league one. But let’s be honest, when he came to Sunderland, he inherited a squad which is very much the same one as we currently have. And with a little bit of luck in a couple of our games this season, we could quite easily be in one of the top two positions in the championship right now.

So no, I don’t see him as a good manager just because we got promoted last season, as the squad of players he was given, was superior to every other club in the league. And although I know it’s a very competitive division, there is also a load of rubbish in there.

My perception of him is a man out of the same mould as Boris Johnson, who talked a load of lies to get the electorate to vote for him. While it appears Neil conned all the personnel and supporters of our club by saying he was happy with a rolling contract, knowing fine well he would be off at the first realistic opportunity and signing a three contract.

Therefore I’m pleased he’s moved on and I only hope now when the directors come to selecting and interviewing applicants to replace him, they don’t only look at those who are without a club at present to save a few pounds by not having to pay clubs compensation.

Just remember, we are a top club in the Championship with lots of potential and ambition of getting into the Premier League within a few years. So we don’t want any more second-rate managers at our club. Therefore, please set your sights a lot higher than previously.

Robert Hall

Ed’s Note [Gav]: As annoyed as I am with Alex, I think you’re being unfair with regards to his achievements as a manager. Let’s be fair, he’s done well everywhere he’s been.

Hamilton Academical v Hibernian - Scottish Premiership Play-off Final: First Leg Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I was so excited to purchase ESPN+, which shows selected Championship games (but not League One) games. Fewer than 14 days after I purchased, Neil bolted. What the hell?

I’m in the US Pacific Northwest, Seattle to be exact. I could go to 1,000 neighbors, and perhaps five would have heard the term “Sunderland”, let alone “Black Cats”. (To make matters worse, I live in Newcastle, which I am eternally pissed off about. #ftm)

There was so much hope. So much excitement for this season. And this motherfucker bails weeks into the season. Who does that? Who do I blame for that? All I wanted was one calendar year of hope, and Neil tosses a grenade onto my raft. I don’t know what to make of it.

So much is unsettled these days — especially in our otherwise fine country! — and Alex Neil throws a curveball that no one saw coming. Fine. Go. Be gone.

Cheers, you guys.

Brian Hunsicker

Dear Roker Report,

The whole ground were shouting to get subs on the pitch, but the stand-in coach didn’t think we needed to.

We dropped points.

The assistant coach has gone to Stoke and they are now three points nearer to us. I don’t think he was the best person to be in charge of that game with his mind on moving to Stoke and how he was going to help Stoke this season.

Martyn Powell

Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Come on you all know the tune...

I don’t know why he’s leaving, or why he’s gone to stoke

I guess he’s got his reasons but it’s just a bloody joke

Cos for 29 weeks we’ve been singing our songs for Alex


Paul Robinson

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I actually appreciate this. Yes.

Dear Roker Report,

I normally agree with Graeme Souness but this time he is totally wrong.

Alex Neil had been sacked and was without a club since March 2021. He applied for the Sunderland job where the transfer policy was well known.

I can’t remember anyone complaining at the time about trying to unearth young talent progressing them and selling some of them on.

Souness says we are trying for heaven but we tried spending millions on experienced players who came for a payday and we ended up in Hell for 4 years.

Alex Neil is treacherous to leave with one week of the window to go, four weeks after signing an improved contract. It’s quite obvious it has nothing to do with anything other than his wages.

For that reason I will now list him amongst my most despised people in football.

Hill, McMenemy, Hodgson (by losing to Iceland we lost a great manager) and of course Moyes. I wish them nothing but bad luck and failure.

When Alex Neil goes to Hell as he surely will I hope Satan is a Mackem!

Gerald Kearney

Dear Roker Report,

Well, the last good feelings I had about Neil have gone after his comments on taking over at Stoke. What a load of garbage... it’s down to off-field issues... never stopped you signing a new deal 4 weeks ago!

It never stopped you taking the job.

And we even offered him improved terms to keep him.

Come on Alex - tell us the truth. Was it because you weren’t getting backed in the transfer market? Well, we are the third biggest net spenders in the league, so that makes no sense.

Also, you’re going to a club with a transfer embargo looming and with a squad we beat on their patch last week.

Sorry but your comments don’t stack up.

Come on Alex, just be honest - it was about the money, just be honest you absolute Judas.

Paul Eden


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