Dear Roker Report,
To those thinking promotion this season would be a bad thing - why? Because we might get relegated back to the league we're currently in?
I’d imagine playing in the Premier League would be so inspiring for our young talent, and it may lift their game even further.
If we did go straight back down, we would’ve lost nothing but we could possibly stay up and gain so much.
Yours, keeping the faith,
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Michael. Thanks for your letter.
I agree that the possibility of playing in the Premier League should be huge motivation for our young players, and I also think that the likes of Clarke, Roberts, Stewart, Neil and Ballard could certainly make a huge impression in the top flight.
On the other hand, I’ve never been particularly excited by the idea of bouncing between the two divisions and undergoing a yearly rebuild.
When promotion is achieved, I’d much rather we had everything in place that would allow us to compete, rather than battling against relegation every season.
Dear Roker Report,
To all Sunderland fans: please don’t get downhearted after last week.
You’ve got the makings of a good team and you play some nice stuff but don’t get ideas above your station like we did in the Premier League.
We weren’t happy with being in the top ten; we wanted to be in the top six which was never going to happen. Be patient, because you’re having a better season than us.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Brian. Thanks for getting in touch!
Last Saturday was certainly the lowest point of our season, because as you rightly point out, we’ve played some great football this season and have achieved some excellent results along the way.
In terms of fan expectations, there’s certainly a desire to make a return to the Premier League as quickly as possible, but at the same time, results like Saturday highlighted our squad’s weaknesses and the need for further improvements during the summer transfer window.
Dear Roker Report,
It’s my first time on here but I feel I must share my feelings.
In my opinion, this season was great until key players got injured, which showed how threadbare our team is.
On the team side, some of the young lads have a very good future in the game but I don’t think it’ll be with us. Also, we have to consider the lack of transfers, particularly in the centre forward position.
We started the season with two strikers and a lot of us asked why, but we were all shouted down. Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms were both injured which was bad luck, and unfortunately the lack of another option was laid bare.
We managed OK for a number of weeks without them, but we got sussed out and a slump in form showed what we lacked.
The January transfer window came and went with no new strikers, even though Tony Mowbray was pleading for them.
I know it’s not that easy but surely they could’ve found suitable players?
In my opinion, it’s all down to money and nothing else. They’ve got a plan that they think will work and while it might’ve worked ten or twenty years ago, English football is all down to hard cash and nothing else.
At the end of the day, the club is being run on the cheap and I just wonder what’s going to happen before next season. Will it involve selling players on and bringing lesser players in?
When you read what was said at start of the season, it was that we’re a selling club, so does our owner have any ambitions at all?
There are also fans who say we ‘aren’t ready for promotion’, but when is any team ready for promotion? If you get the chance of promotion, you grab it with both hands, don’t you?
Never mind next season- even if we came crashing back down, I’d rather watch Premier League football than Championship football.
In my opinion, the club has reached its peak at the moment unless there’s a change of heart on transfers, and I fear we’ve just started to move backwards.
Do average crowds of 38,000 and a crowd of 43,000 last Saturday deserve this? I don’t think so.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Joe. Thanks for getting in touch and sharing your thoughts!
The issue of ‘ambition’ is a tricky one, but in my opinion, it’s about far more than which players you bring in.
Things like the academy structure, scouting network and coaching departments all need to be brought up to Premier League standard if we’re to have a bright future at Sunderland.
I don’t necessarily think it’s a matter of picking and choosing when you’re promoted, either. It’s obvious that the club has a plan that they’re sticking to, which is to develop a team, give them the experience and then eventually mount a promotion challenge.
Regarding player sales, the real acid test is who we could bring in to replace certain players.
If Anthony Patterson was to be sold this summer, for example (purely hypothetically) could our recruitment team identify a quality replacement who could slot in and ensure that the impact of the sale would be minimised?
All clubs, with the exception of an elite handful, are ‘selling clubs’ nowadays, and the real test is how the money is reinvested and how the team can be strengthened without spending inflated sums on players who don’t represent good value for money.