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Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Letters: “Are certain fans being given priority for Sunderland tickets?”

Concerns about ticket availability for the Leeds United game and thoughts on Sunderland’s goalscoring issues are in the RR mailbox today! Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’ve just been trying to pick up some tickets for the Leeds United game but the website is saying that they’re limited to supporters with a recent ticket history (the Norwich City game).

As I’ve unfortunately come to expect, the messaging on the website isn’t 100% clear and I’m not getting anywhere in contacting the club.

Does anyone know whether this is a measure to stop Leeds fans from accessing home areas, or if it’s designed to give people who’ve been to previous games the first chance to get tickets, with any remaining tickets being released closer to the game?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for me to get to many games and I was intending this to be a Christmas present, so it would be disappointing if I’m unable to get tickets.


Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Matthew. Thanks for your letter.

It’s unfortunate to hear that you’re experiencing issues with the ticketing system, and especially for what’ll be a very high-profile and hopefully top quality game.

I’m not aware of any restrictions on ticket purchases as part of a plan to prevent away supporters from buying home tickets, so perhaps it’s a case of certain customers being given priority, given the prestige of the game itself and the fact that the Stadium of Light is likely to be packed to the rafters for the visit of Leeds.

Hopefully it sorts itself out and you can get your hands on a ticket!

Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

There’s a lot of concern on all fronts about the lack of goals from strikers.

On the surface, this is indeed a problem, but is it really one which would fix everything if it was solved?

Surely the lack of goals is mostly not the strikers’ fault, but a product of the way we’re set up. The system we developed last season was to play with a ‘false nine’, with goals mostly coming from midfield and the wings, where Jack Clarke is currently excelling.

If we altered things so that a striker scored more, there’s a real risk this could break things so we end up with fewer goals overall.

Much how a DIY expert doesn’t need a three inch drill bit, they need a three inch hole, Sunderland’s ‘job to be done’ is not to have a striker scoring goals; it’s for the team to win matches.

A striker that scores is definitely a key part of the conventional way to achieve this but football tactics have undergone a great deal of evolution in recent years.

With that in mind, it’s worth considering whether we need a forward who effectively manipulates opposition defenders out of position and provides clever little knock-ons, or indeed something completely different.

Craig Tallentire

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Craig. Thanks for getting in touch.

I’m writing this reply after the game against Birmingham City, during which Nazariy Rusyn impressed upfront and despite not scoring, he looks like the kind of striker who could really thrive if given the right service.

He looks sharp, lively, and always eager to give opposition defenders something to think about.

The issue of goals from our strikers isn’t going away until one or more of them hits the goal trail and starts to ease the burden on the likes of Clarke, and given that Eliezer Mayenda also looked promising when he came on as a substitute against the Blues, hopefully we’re edging closer to a breakthrough.

As you rightly say, winning games is the main priority, and the question of who scores the goals should be a secondary concern if we’re on the right side of the scoreboard after ninety minutes.

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images


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