Dear Roker Report,
I’d like to express my disappointment at the behaviour of too many supposed fans.
We have new owners who’ve demonstrated repeatedly that their intention is to repair our club after the idiocy of preceding regimes, yet everyday I read vicious posts from supposed fans attacking the owners, the administration staff and the playing results, as well as many more complaints.
We’re doing really well, far better than the fans may have expected, which is a clear sign that our owners are the ones we need.
Here are some examples of what I’ve read…
- Constant chatter about selling Dan Ballard, Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts. What idiocy to encourage our players to be sold!
- Moaning about the state of the Stadium of Light and its potential expansion in size. It takes time and the fans to fill it!
We need to be patient (my first season was 1950/1951), but we’ll get there, and I love my club.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, John. Thanks for your letter.
There does seem to be a lingering degree of scepticism regarding the current owners, which I often struggle to understand. It generally seems to be limited to social media, however, because the atmosphere at matches is largely positive and most people seem to have full faith in what’s happening at the club.
This club was in bad shape when they arrived and began to overhaul things in order to get us moving again. I think it’s fair to say that, one or two missteps aside, they’ve succeeded in doing so, and there’s been an enormous amount of progress made since 2020.
We have an exciting squad filled with young and talented players, the coaching structure is now at a much higher standard, and the recruitment system is operating far more effectively, too.
Could things be slightly better in certain areas? Of course, but rejuvenating Sunderland AFC is a long-term task, and hopefully they’ll continue to make changes and improvements whenever they can.
Dear Roker Report,
I really wish people would stop wittering on about Jack Clarke being sold in January.
He’s secured on a long-term contract and it seems like he’s happy at Sunderland.
If another club does approach us, we should quite simply refuse to sell unless it’s for a really good sum of money (£25 million or higher) and this will stop the unnecessary discussion about his future.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Malcolm. Thanks for getting in touch.
Frankly, the whole ‘Jack Clarke transfer saga’ is slightly boring now, and I don’t mean that disrespectfully towards Clarke himself, who’s been in dazzling form and is showing no outward signs of wanting to leave the club.
In the current market, a fee of around £30 million is not an unreasonable fee for a young, exciting and English talent such as Clarke.
The fact that Premier League teams are potentially showing interest in him is a good thing, because it shows we’re doing things properly, but we’re also no longer a soft touch as we showed when Ross Stewart departed, and any potential sale must be for as high a fee as we can get.
That’s a fundamental part of how we do business nowadays.
Dear Roker Report,
I generally agree with everything you put out regarding the club and the fans. However, after the Middlesbrough game last week, someone commented about the stadium being empty at the end of the game, which is fair.
The letter in question then went on to criticise fans who were booing the taking of the knee, but if they choose to do that, it’s their choice.
It’s quite condescending to tell people what to agree or disagree with, and if they want to boo, it’s their choice not yours.
If players want to make gestures, their supporters can and are able to disagree. After all, we’re not living in a communist state.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Ian. Thanks for your letter.
The question of responses to players taking the knee remains a divisive topic, some three years after the gesture was adopted in English football, and personally, I think it’s good to see our players continuing to express their views on the subject of racism.
Of course the supporters have a right to voice their opinions on it, but it would also be encouraging and a real sign of solidarity if we kept such debates confined to social media and discussions after the game, rather than booing just before the match kicks off.
Every player should be able to show their stance without fear of being jeered by their own fans. That’s just basic decency and respect, in my opinion.