Dear Roker Report,
First of all, I believe we have a very good head coach in Tony Mowbray but I do wish he would act the part for the press when being interviewed.
He acts like he can’t be bothered, particularly when he’s chewing sweets non-stop. Is it ignorant? Yes. He looks like a bulldog chewing a wasp.
I’ve been red and white for eighty years and I cannot remember when I’ve missed a game, but these owners have no ambition.
When the likes of Brentford and Burnley are bidding for our star players, do we hear the owners saying that these players are contracted to the club and are going nowhere? No. They say nothing and treat us with contempt.
I hate to say it, but the Mags would be up in arms, but we just seem to accept it.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, James. Thanks for your letter.
Regarding Tony Mowbray’s conduct during press conferences, I haven’t got a major problem with it, personally.
The whole ‘Mogga loves chocolate’ schtick isn’t particularly funny anymore, but on the other hand, the press conferences themselves tend to be a waste of time anyway, so it doesn’t really bother me.
On the subject of the owners, I really don’t think there’s any proof that they ‘lack ambition’ or that they're selling the fans short when it comes to building a squad.
The fact that we have players at the club whom other clubs might be interested in is no bad thing, because it shows that we’re a good place for young, talented players to be. We can’t prevent interest in them, but what we can do is ensure that if and when they do leave, we get the highest fee possible.
If that money is reinvested into the squad and we continue to progress as a result, it’s difficult to argue that the system isn’t working.
Dear Roker Report,
We have to keep Jack Clarke at Sunderland.
We don’t want to make the same mistakes as we have in the past and let our best players leave the club, so we must do all we can to keep Clarke and the other players if we’re to achieve our dream of returning to the Premier League.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Anthony. Thanks for getting in touch.
Like every other Sunderland fan, I’d love to think that Jack Clarke will remain on Wearside for years to come and that his goals and assists will help to fire us to the Premier League, but on the other hand, every player has his price and Clarke will be highly sought-after in the near future.
If and when he does leave, ensuring that we get maximum value for him (just like we did with Ross Stewart) will be key, and I trust that Kristjaan Speakman and his team would do exactly that.
Dear Roker Report,
All the media and fan blogs’ thoughts about the future of our players is beyond belief.
Jack Clarke in particular is signed up on a long-term contract and he’s happy at Sunderland, so why would he want to leave or why would the club want to sell him?
I fully understand that he’s a valuable asset and all the talk about his worth won’t be realised until someone comes up with a figure they’re willing to pay for his services.
Certain sources have bandied around figures of £10-15 million as a potential fee.
I’d personally say it’s at least £25 million, but until someone offers a decent and realistic fee for him, he’s ours and will remain ours, so let’s stop all this pointless speculation until the people in the position to sanction such sales are looking at selling them.
Reflecting on Swansea, we totally dominated the game before the sending off and afterwards as well. We did everything but score, but that’s football and the strange quirks it throws up.
We can thank Anthony Patterson for saving a soft penalty and also praise the Swansea goalkeeper for making some important saves. When he was beaten, the woodwork saved the Swans from going behind.
My only critical point is I that I would’ve left Nazariy Rusyn on and played two upfront.
I think that getting rid of Bradley Dack is a priority, as he’s like the players of old: looking for a payday to finish off his career. He’s slow, overweight and very injury prone, in my opinion.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Malcolm. Thanks for your letter.
On Jack Clarke’s future, I’ve no doubt that the speculation will continue until the January transfer window opens, as Premier League clubs prepare for a month-long spending spree as they either push for European qualification or attempt to stave off relegation.
As a young, English player, Clarke will definitely be on the radars of top flight clubs but as I said above, it’s essential that if he does leave, we don’t sell him for a penny less than his market value, which is at least £30 million, in my opinion.
Looking back at the Swansea game, our performance was actually very good for the majority of the game, and it was only some wayward finishing that let us down. On Dack, I just don’t see what he’s supposed to be offering at this stage, bar the much talked-about ‘experience’ that many people had been demanding.
The encouraging thing is that we’re creating chances and if our forwards can sharpen up a little bit and start working opposing goalkeepers more, the current lack of goals from our strikers hopefully won’t be an issue for much longer.