Dear Roker Report,
I’m an eighty two year old Sunderland fan living in Hertfordshire who went to my first match with my grandfather in 1949.
It’s been an up and down ride over the years but I still think there have been more ups than downs and at the moment, there’s no doubt that we’re on the up.
I haven’t been able to watch the highlights of Saturday’s match on the club website yet but looking at the statistics and reading the comments of those who were there, it looks as if we were on the receiving end of another poor refereeing display for Dennis Cirkin’s sending off.
Most people seem to think that he was the subject of an arm across the throat from Chong when he was red carded and looking at the BBC match statistics, they say we committed three fouls, two of which must have been linked to Cirkin’s dismissal, whilst Birmingham committed nineteen!
I may be biased, but that seems like a very strange statistic given it was Sunderland who had a player sent off.
Hopefully we might just make the playoffs but whether we do or we don’t, what a season this has been! Before it started, I would’ve been really happy just to stay up so to be in with a chance of a place in the top six is way beyond my expectations.
Who knows what might’ve happened if Ross Stewart & Corry Evans hadn’t suffered long-term injuries!
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi Roy. Thanks for getting in touch!
I agree that Dennis Cirkin’s red card on Saturday certainly felt harsh, although by the letter of the law, it was technically a case of obstruction and the fact that he got clobbered for his trouble merely made it worse.
It was a messy incident but we’ve become used to those this season, sadly.
Regarding our playoff chances, it’s definitely possible and Tuesday night’s game against Huddersfield is absolutely key.
If we do make the top six, that’ll be a bonus and if we don't, let’s make sure we’ve given it everything during the final four games of the season and that we have no regrets about what might’ve been.
Dear Roker Report,
I was sitting in the north stand on Saturday when once again, a flare or smoke grenade came down from the away end and almost struck a disabled fan.
I was just three rows back from the incident and myself, my son and my grandson are moving from the north stand to new seats next season because of the continuous issues.
I’m not sure what else to do, and imagine if something more substantial strikes one of us on the head? The club don’t care and if they did, we wouldn’t be talking about this issue.
I’ve spoken to others around me at games who are doing the same and if there’s nobody left in that stand next season, you’ll know why.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi Ian. Thanks for your letter.
First of all, it’s unfortunate that you feel the need to move seats because of safety issues. That’s something that should never happen at our stadium and hopefully it gives you peace of mind for next season.
On the issue of missiles being thrown down from the upper tier of the north stand, it’s time for the club to sort this issue once and for all.
They've made it clear that the away fans aren’t going to be moved, so it’s time to install netting in order to prevent objects being thrown down, and there also needs to be more thorough searches of away supporters when they enter the stadium.
It’s gone on for long enough.
Dear Roker Report,
Most of the fans I chatted to in the pub before the game on Saturday seemed convinced that we’re about to lose most of our talented players. My argument back to them was, ‘why are you so worried?’
The recruitment team have successfully recruited all of these players quite cheaply.
With Sunderland looking up the table, we’re in a fantastic position to recruit even better players going forward, and I’m happy for talented players to leave if we then replace them with even more talented players.
Whether you’re concerned or not, I think it’s safe to say that these are very exciting times and never in my life have I seen so much brilliant young talent playing in red and white.
Jock from Jarrow
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi Jock. Thanks for your letter!
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to the issue of our transfer policy.
There’s a chance that our talented young players will eventually be sold for a handsome profit, but the real acid test is replacing them with quality players who can help to drive the club forward.
That’s how we become self-sustaining and as you rightly say, the recruitment team have largely done very well so far, and they’ve earned the right to continue to perfect the process and to keep our squad in the best shape it can possibly be.