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Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 1st Leg

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Fan Letters: “You can’t replace a Rolls Royce with a Transit Van!”

The RR mailbag discusses primarily sustainability - on and off the pitch... Got something to get off your chest?! Email us:

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I was reading the “Which EFL clubs are the most sustainable?” article from BBC Sport. Sunderland did not make the top 20, they are the joint 35th most sustainable footballing team in the EFL and the 15th most sustainable in the Championship.

Having a sustainability rating of 7/24 from Sport Positive ( is embarrassing for a club of our stature. I would like to see an emphasis on becoming sustainable from KLD & Speakman etc.

I am aware that there was a new sustainability plan in February 2023, however Sport Positive argue that it is an insufficient policy/commitment. New plans for SAFC to be sustainable e.g. less use of plastic cups at match days etc, would be welcome.

Thanks for reading.

Ollie Goodall

Ed’s Note [Chris]: I understand where you are coming from in terms of our stature, but the club have been mismanaged for best part of a decade at the very least, so it has to be taken into account.

The club have stated it’s on their radar and like everything else off the pitch at the moment, it’s seemingly lagging behind our progress on the pitch.

Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 1st Leg
Kyril Louis-Dreyfus
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Can I ask one very simple straight forward question... does any SAFC fan know the actual model of the club that is continually being talked about going forward?

I know I don’t, and I cannot see anywhere where the Chairman and his cohorts have actually come out and said either we are going to develop kids to sell on (thus making huge mugs of us fans as we pay a lot of money each season), or are we really going to make strides at keeping these kids once they grow?

I am fully aware people will point to Dan Neil, but let’s be honest here, Dan Neil is as Sunderland as it gets, so persuading him to stay was not ever going to be as difficult as persuading others of the new crop.

I just don’t get it.

Only recently, Mowbray was actually quoted as saying he understands we could be developing kids to sell on for big profit if they are successful and the money will then be ploughed back into the team.

Sunderland v Luton Town - Sky Bet Championship
Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

You can’t replace a Rolls Royce with a Transit Van (nowt against tranny vans, as I actually own one), but you must see my point. I for one, will definitely hold off next season until we finally receive some clarity of this mysterious “model” we are aiming for.

If need be, I will resist repurchasing and I have the feeling I will not be the only one. Lots of fans are showing discontent during the half time break over this very subject. Yeah, let’s build them up, improve them technically and then sell them to one of the big boys. Right, that says a lot for how we the fans are actually thought of. We will be forever a yo-yo club if that is the way forward. No doubt about it whatsoever.



Ed’s Note [Chris]: Listening to the sporadic club podcasts that include speaking with Kristjaan Speakman on the subject, he has tried to outline how he wants to move forward, although I would admit that at times it isn’t spelled out.

The evidence so far has been that the club has almost exclusively signed players under the age of 23. The other side of this will be seen during this summer in terms of outgoings. We’re at the start of this process and this first wave of players need time to progress, so holding onto the likes of Dan Neil is vital for at least another year.

The bottom line is though, that they have been doing this for two years and we’re in a much better place than when they started this journey, so long may it continue.


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