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Sunderland v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Letters: “To achieve promotion this season would be a disaster!”

Being happy with the current plan, an ambition not to get promoted this time around, Tony Mowbray’s decisions and off the field issues... it’s the latest from the RR mailbox! Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Re: Roker Rob’s letter - Fan Letters, 9/3/2023

I agree 100% with his comments about a certain element our so-called fans.

The fans in general are in consensus that a mid-table position is a good achievement for our first season back in the Championship - after all, it’s four years since we were in it.

The game of football and its management of players has changed radically during this period so we must learn to be patient. The owner has been involved with football all his life and is not going to throw away the family's fortune on impatient SAFC fans.

There is a plan, let’s see how it works out and benefits our club before we start alienating the owner from what he knows is a sleeping giant of a football club.

Malcolm Donnison

Ed’s Note [Chris]: Twelve months ago we were scrambling for a play-off place to even stand a chance of making it to the Championship and now we are six points outside the top six as we enter the business end of the season. This is the progress we’re making and I’d have snapped your hand of to be in the position we’re in now.

Things haven’t gone well for various reasons recently and we are well within our rights to do that, but bigger picture we’ve got to be pleased with the progress we’re making as a club.

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

Dear Roker Report,

The club just need to finish where they are this season.

They need this year to consolidate. Then during the summer add to the squad of players that can take them up, hopefully next season.

To achieve promotion this season would, I believe, be a disaster.

One more thought - we need a squad of CONTRACT players and less on loan.

George France

Ed’s Note [Chris]: Another season in the Championship might do us some good and I’d be more than happy with a mid-table finish - as I’ve written on the site and said on the pod - but at the same time you can’t pick and choose when these opportunities come around.

We’re in a good position at the moment so we have to go for it while it’s possible to do so, and who knows, a cycle of going up and coming back down might prepare us just as well as staying in the Championship.

Coventry City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Amad Diallo
Photo by Martin swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Below is a copy of an email I have sent to Steve Davison.

The whole process that has been adopted to allow supporters back into the Premier Concourse is a complete farce, I cannot get my original seats back and what is worse no one at the Club seems to be the least bit concerned.

I have resigned myself to the fact that despite being a season card holder for over 20 years, staying loyal to the club during some of the worst years in the club's history, I now will not be able to sit in the seat that I thought was my “own”.


I am extremely disappointed with the process that has been put in place for supporters to return to the Premier Concourse, the process is unfair and does not give loyal supporters their original seats back.

I have been a season card holder for over 20 years, I first attended with my son in various seats in the Stadium, ultimately ending up with a front row seat in block P13. It took me a number of seasons to get this front row seat, my son started work and could not continue to attend the games, so I was able to get a single seat in the front row. My friend then moved to the Premier Concourse, but was only able to get a seat behind me. When each seasons renewal started my friend tried to get a seat next to me and eventually he succeeded.

We have both been loyal supporters staying Season card holders throughout the relegation seasons and the time in League One, we moved to other seats in the main bowl when asked on the understanding that we would be able to return to our seats when the club's fortunes improved.

So when we tried to move back to the Premier Concourse you can understand our disappointment that we could not get our original seats. We both understood that when we were asked to move, it was on the understanding that we would eventually move back to our original seats.

I find the process that has been used is most unfair, it took us years to get two front row seats together, I suspect that some supporters have had front row seats since the Stadium opened. My seat in the Stadium is very important to me it is “my” seat and to have this seat given to another supporter is very unfair.

The process for returning to the Premier Concourse should have been open to supporters who wanted their original seat back first, then after a set period of time the seats should have been opened up to other supporters.

I am extremely disappointed that I have not been allowed to get “my” seat back, this is what I understood would happen when the concourse was closed. I feel as if my loyalty to the club during a very difficult period has not been recognised.

I would welcome your thoughts on this situation and I request that the process is changed so loyal supporters can get their original seat back.

I have contacted the Ticket Office by email and by Twitter but I have not had a response. I believe this situation needs immediate action by yourself to reward loyal supporters.”

D Burrell

Ed’s Note [Chris]: As much as we’re making progress from a League One club to a Championship club on the pitch, I still feel we’re a bit of a mess off the pitch. The club shop, buying merchandise online, the matchday experience, going fully digital without consultation, ticketing in the early part of the season... there’s still some way to go for the club to get things right off the pitch.

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

Dear Roker Report,

First thing... I’m pro-Tony Mowbay... I like the bloke, I think he’s had us playing some of the best football I’ve ever seen at Sunderland and he seems like a good fit at present.

However, if the teamsheet comes out this weekend and it looks similar to last week’s against Stoke he should be sacked on the spot before kick-off. There are still 33 points to play for and we are only six from the playoffs... there are players massively out of form (Amad, Neil) and Gelhardt doesn’t even look like he could play Sunday league.

I understand we’re restricted at the back but we have attacking players in abundance itching to get on the pitch. Any unwillingness to try something new after that debacle last week and we have Lee Johnson mk2... to write the rest off the season now with a quarter of it left is something no club should tolerate.

Paul Robinson

Ed’s Note [Chris]: As we talked about on the podcast following the Stoke result, the recent decisions in terms of team selection are difficult to understand, but this is Tony Mowbray’s first tough patch as manager. If we start going down the route of making changes on this basis we’ll end up with a record similar to Watford for changing things out.

The club will no doubt take stock at the end of the season, because even if we do end with a mid-table finish we can still consider this season to be a success.

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


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