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Fan Letters: “I just don’t get the depth of negativity towards Michael Beale”

The impending appointment of Michael Beale at Sunderland has set tongues wagging - and RR reader John asks... why do we never swap our wingers over? Have your say on things - drop us an email:

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

After two impressive victories, yesterday’s game was a total disappointment. The setup didn’t seem right. Am I being cynical, but with Mike Dodds not looking likely to get the job was this his ‘what the heck’ moment?

The lack of a recognised striker was evident for all to see. I don’t follow the logic of persisting with Ba. He’s skilful but doesn’t deliver. I would like Dan Neil to play in the defensive midfield role and Pierre Ekwah to play higher up the park. He has the ability to make that defence-splitting pass, and with a lightning-quick Rusyn to get in behind, it might be that a recognised forward eventually scores for us!

Much as I am an admirer of Patto, he cost us the game yesterday. There are times when he needs to clear the ball long, but he plays the ball to a player under pressure, and the end result is the penalty as he tries to make amends for his mistake.

Let’s hope we get an early Christmas present next Saturday against Coventry!

Phil Herdson

Ed’s note [Martin]: Agree with your observations there Phil. I’m not a huge fan of Ba, and think we got the team selection wrong on Saturday. We should have had a striker up there.

Dear Roker Report,

All we want for Christmas is a recognised centre forward and a GOOD manager, and we have neither, although Mike Dodds has done his best. The manager in the frame is Michael Beale who is as much use as a bucket with a hole in it. His form is abysmal both with QPR and Glasgow Rangers, but the hierarchy have their “Yes sir” man, so we can say bye-bye to the top six this season because I can see some of our best players disappearing to other clubs. We are DOOMED to stay out of the Premier League until Dreyfus and Speakman come to their senses and take notice of what the fans want. But their only thought is money, and the attendance is going to take a nose dive. Happy Christmas.

Bill Calvert

Ed’s note [Martin]: I’d like us to play the strikers we have Bill, that’d be a start. I genuinely don’t understand all this negativity towards Beale - he’s got an excellent reputation as coach, and his win ratio at Rangers was over 70%. He did well at QPR, which is how he got the Rangers job in the first place. He might not be the most exciting option, but the club are going to go with who they believe the best candidate to be. I’m interested in your ‘take notice of what the fans want’ comment - what do the fans want? If you’d offered me this approach and outcome three years ago I’d have been delighted - a young team playing great football in the top half of the championship I’d have snapped your hand off. Yes, we want to progress, and hopefully we will continue to do so. I’m pretty confident in the direction the club’s headed, but it seems we’re not progressing as quickly as some may like. Happy Christmas to you, too, Bill.

Sunderland v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

How on earth has this man been selected? His management record is a long way from being anything to talk about. KLD’s model for the club seems to revolve around his short arms and deep pockets. To be successful in football means spending some money on players and wages. Sunderland will never get anywhere with this owner.


Ed’s note [Martin]: He’s got an excellent reputation as a coach, which is what’s being rightly prioritised for the role of head coach, as opposed to manager. His managerial record is decent, although he’s made some mistakes in the roles he’s had.

Dear Roker Report,

Michael Beale


1-20+ Years of coaching experience

2-10 Years Coaching at Chelsea alongside people such as Ancelotti, Hiddink and Mourinho. Also helped to develop players such as Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson Odoi

3-Assistant Manager for 2 years and Manager for 2.5 Years of Liverpool U21Eighteen members of his squad made first-team debuts in the space of two years, including Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones.

4-Half a season as an assistant manager at Sau Paulo; coached a young Eder Militao, who ended up joining Real Madrid for over £40m.

5- Poached by Steven Gerrard and returns to Liverpool as Head Of Academy Coaching for a year.

6- Taken by Steven Gerrard to be assistant manager at Rangers. Delivers a league title. Gerrard describes him as the man behind the success

7- Taken by Steven Gerrard to be assistant manager at Aston Villa.

8- Appointed manager at QPR. 1.41 PPM which over a full season equates to 65 points. QPR finished on 50 points.

9- Appointed manager at Rangers. 2.26 PPM.

10- Was offered a Premier League job; Wolves.


1- Left QPR for Rangers just after making a massive deal about his ‘loyalty’ and ‘integrity’ values after rejecting Wolves

2- Left QPR while on a 5-game winless run.

3- Failed to win an old firm or a trophy at Rangers.

4- Failed to recruit well at Rangers - but he won’t be recruiting at Sunderland.

Reuben Dudley

Ed’s note [Martin]: Thanks Reuben. The question marks I have about him are about the way he left QPR, and how he seems to have rubbed fans up the wrong way in the press etc. Coaching wise he’s got a very good reputation, so hopefully that’ll reap rewards for us.

Liverpool v Sunderland: Barclays U21 Premier League Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I was sad to see the change in Tony Mowbray’s attitude and demeanour in the weeks before he left and disappointed at his comments about some of the young signings being made in public. So when he went, I wasn’t surprised.

I became excited by thoughts of a young progressive coach adept at languages and fully aligned with the role of coach, hopefully with some real tactical awareness and flexibility.

But this is Sunderland and that doesn’t seem to be quite where we are going this time around.

If reports are true then MB is on his way and I optimistically hope it’s a good move. He built a good record as a coach and was credited with excellent player development and tactical awareness. He was lured into manager roles with mixed success leading to his failure at Rangers but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.

The role of manager is demanding in so many ways that it takes an exceptional person or team of people to pull it off. Having burnt his fingers at Rangers a step back to a coaching role backed by good existing people and supported by an excellent management team is perhaps a marriage made in heaven.

I am prepared to back our Board and their judgement since they have done a good job so far and trust this is another good appointment for all concerned. Let’s hope I’m right.


Ed’s note [Martin]: Thanks Ian. I would keep coming back to the fact that the people who best know and understand what’s needed in the role day to day are making the call on this, and they’ve done enough over the past three years to earn a bit of our trust on this one.

Rangers v PSV Eindhoven - UEFA Champions Qualifying Play-Off: First Leg Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m an American who has a Mackem stepdad. I saw this club when it was in the prem and in League One, and never did I think in a million years that Michael Beale would be our manager. Horrible horrible decision. Would rather have Alex Neil back or some other scum than him.

Paul Holeman

Ed’s note [Martin]: I just don’t get the depth of negativity towards him.

Dear Roker Report,

It has been noticeable lately that both Clarke and Roberts are going on the outside of their defender more often. This is because the opposition coaches have doubled up on them to stop them from coming inside and shooting. It must be around 10 games or at least three months since Clarke scored from open play while Roberts hasn’t scored at all, so there cannot be any argument to say by switching them over you’ll reduce their goal-scoring ability. The result of them currently going on the outside is both end up crossing with their weaker foot and we get poor crosses. I cannot understand why they don’t switch wings. The result would be better crosses into the box which a decent striker could get on the end of.

John Briggs

Ed’s Note [Gav]: It’s funny you should say this John because I’ve had the same thoughts. Why do we never switch them over during games when one or the other are struggling? Roberts has been seriously unproductive this season and needs a proper challenge for his place, but given how tricky he is I’d be interested to see if he could cut it playing on the left.

I presume the worry is that Clarke is so one-footed and we’d be restricting him by moving his position, and he’s our most productive player.


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