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Fan Letters: “My suggestions for the Roker Report end of season awards!”

Choosing the standout players and moments from 2022/2023, thoughts on the future of our head coach, and opinions on Ross Stewart’s contractual situation are in the RR mailbox today! Got something to say? Email us!

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Here are my picks for the RR ‘end of season awards’…

Best player: Amad

Best young player: Anthony Patterson

Most improved player: Anthony Patterson

Best goal: Jack Clarke vs Reading away

Best moment: When news of the Millwall vs Blackburn result went around Deepdale!

Worst moment: Stoke at the Stadium of Light

Andrew Bailey

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Andrew. Thanks for your letter!

It’s tough to disagree with any of your selections, particularly Jack Clarke’s outstanding goal against Reading and the low point of the 1-5 loss at home to Alex Neil’s Stoke City (a result that was actually something or a turning point in our season, I felt).

Anthony Patterson’s improvement, particularly when commanding his box, has been notable in recent months, and Amad’s contributions will live long in the memory as well. The best and most influential loan signing in Sunderland history, in my opinion.

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

Dear Roker Report,

Like many fans, I find it hard to understand why the club is allowing all the stories regarding Tony Mowbray’s future at the club circulate without any clarification forthcoming.

It’s putting Mowbray in an almost untenable position after everything he achieved last season, and if there’s any truth in these stories, the least that he and the fans deserve is a comment to either confirm or deny them.

The players seem to enjoy playing under the current management and I would think the fans are almost 100% behind him after watching some great entertainment during the season.

He doesn’t deserve to be treated in this kind of disrespectful fashion and no one could blame him if he packed his bags and left.

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus needs to come clean and tell everyone what his intention is regarding the position of our head coach!

Stuart Lathan

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Stuart. Thanks for getting in touch.

Personally, I don’t think there’s any need to panic regarding Mowbray’s future.

As we’ve seen regularly in recent times, the club isn’t in the business of commenting on Twitter rumours, and rightly so.

If a statement was released every time a story or a rumour regarding a player or coach’s future was circulating on social media, the club’s PR team would be working 24/7, and it would never truly satisfy everyone, anyway.

Kristjaan Speakman’s most recent interview seemed to hint at real satisfaction and pride about the job that was done by Mowbray during 2022/2023, and I get a sense that there’s a real calmness around the club as we head into the summer and the planning begins for next season.

Yes, forward planning is very much part of how we operate nowadays and perhaps they do have a list of long-term replacements, but I’m very confident that Mowbray retains the backing of the key decision makers and that his position is secure, and I don’t see it changing any time soon.

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

Dear Roker Report,

Where’s Ross Stewart’s loyalty to the club who’ve paid his wages through two long term injuries?

If he’s not going to sign, transfer list him and get money to invest in a replacement.

Brian Hogg

Dear Roker Report,

Ross Stewart’s contract has now been negotiated for over eighteen months and no player is bigger than the club.

Clearly he’s dragging his feet, so it’s time for the club to make that decision for him.

The club must now transfer list him and send a message over the close season that he’s not irreplaceable and that other targets are now being sorted.

This may concentrate his mind on where he wants to be!


Dear Roker Report,

The Ross Stewart issue has been going on too long, for me.

I don’t think he wants to stay, so sell him.

Paul Pritchard

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Brian, John and Paul. Thanks for getting in touch!

Clearly, the issue of Stewart’s future is dominating the agenda at the moment, and whereas the thought of losing him would’ve been borderline unthinkable a year ago, I think things are slightly different now. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love the guy and would be elated if he stayed, but there are plenty of factors to consider.

In the first instance, we ended the season as the league’s fourth highest scorers, despite playing for large chunks of the season without Stewart (and Ellis Simms) upfront.

That showed how well the other players stepped up, and I’m 100% certain that we’ll be bringing in reinforcements in that position this summer, which would mean we aren’t solely reliant on one player to carry the goalscoring burden.

Also, the two injuries suffered by Stewart may have put potential suitors off. He’s approaching what should be his peak years and the fact that he’s yet to complete a full season at this level may well be a red flag for clubs who were considering signing him.

For what it’s worth, I’d expect him to sign a new contract once he returns to full fitness, but at the same time, the club can’t stand still and flirt with the idea of pinning all our hopes on the big man penning a new deal.

Lessons from past failures need to be learned, and hopefully they will be.

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


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Roker Roundtable: How can Tony Mowbray make best use of his wider squad?


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