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New Mexico United v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly

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Fan Letters: “It’s a great time to be an overseas Sunderland supporter!”

Positive vibes from a Lads fan in America, and thoughts on the communication from the club and Jordan Henderson’s move to Saudi Arabia are in the RR mailbox today. Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m listening to your podcast review of Sunderland’s USA tour, which I didn’t attend, but I know the feeling you described. (I’d be happy to talk about it, Gav!)

I’m an American who’s missed watching no more than twenty games since we, as a family, fell for the team in 2010. Podcasts and Roker Report have provided us with a connection to other fans that matters a lot.

My nineteen-year-old son and I saw every minute of the previous North American games in July 2015, which were played in Sacramento, California and Toronto, Canada.

Seeing all three games and driving across the continent to do it was a no-brainer that particular year, although we actually live in New York City.

Approaching the stadium forty minutes before the first Sacramento game, I saw something I’d never seen in person before: a stranger wearing an Sunderland shirt. What a thrill!

Lately, it’s been the best of our times in being a remote Sunderland fan. For all the reasons you know, and who doesn’t love Lynden Gooch, Luke O’Nien, the rest of the players, or Tony Mowbray?

We happened to have good timing for the only league game I’ve ever attended - and the only three days any of us have ever been in Sunderland: 12/23/17.

We’d won our last game at home for the first time in 364 days, and the city was so relieved!!

Haway the Lads and Lasses!

Elizabeth & Zabby Hovey

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Elizabeth and Zabby! Thanks for your letter and for the kind words about our podcasts and website content.

It’s a very exciting time to be writing and talking about Sunderland, and it’s always wonderful to hear that we’re reaching Lads fans all around the world.

It seems that our recently-completed USA tour was a real success. The fans seemed to enjoy themselves, many of our players looked very impressive, and the tough conditions will have helped their fitness, so it was definitely worthwhile.

Let’s hope the Lads can get the new season off to a positive start when Ipswich visit the Stadium of Light. There’ll be a great atmosphere and it should be a lively occasion!

San Antonio v Sunderland Pe-Season Friendly Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m a season ticket holder and I buy a car park pass every year, which covers all home games, including cup games and friendlies when arranged, or so I thought.

I recently contacted the ticket office because I hadn’t received my pass and I was planning on going to the Mallorca game this Saturday.

In reply to my email, (because you can’t get through if you call them on the phone), I was advised that the pass doesn’t cover the pre-season friendlies, and that these can be bought separately.

I wasn’t told about this when I paid for the pass and it’s possible I could’ve bought a ticket for this Saturday’s game, only to be turned away at the car park by a steward.

Like many people’s experiences with the club, the lack of communication, incompetence and possibly greed are becoming commonplace.

Sadly, I’m not now going to the match.

Keep up the good work.

Haway the Lads!


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

Sadly, this is another example of the club failing in its basic duty: to communicate properly with the fans and provide them with any information they might need. It’s been a running theme all summer and it’s showing no signs of stopping.

I must sound like a broken record whenever I reply to letters, but serious questions must be asked about the strategy when it comes to what happens off the field, as well as Steve Davison’s position.

He really doesn’t come across as someone who knows exactly what’s needed to run a club such as Sunderland, and that’s putting it fairly mildly.

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

Dear Roker Report,

With the wealth they have, Saudi Arabia is clearly trying to make a statement in the sporting world, through golf and now football.

Jordan Henderson is coming to the end of a fantastic career, along with others, and he’s decided to put the future of his family first and secure them for life, and I wish him well.

I quite clearly understand the Saudi regime’s human rights violations, but at the end of the day, you’ve only got to look up the road, where they have the devil in charge.

Good luck, Jordan, and good luck Sunderland.

Malcolm Greenhow

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

I think that, in Henderson’s case, the issue is based on morals and values.

For years, he aligned himself with LGBTQ causes and was a campaigner for equality in football, but signing for a Saudi club surely represents a complete U-turn from his previous stance, and the fact that he’s been swayed by a sizeable pay cheque.

Of all the players who might’ve made such a move, would Henderson have been at the top of the list? I don’t think so, personally, and it feels like it’s shocked and saddened many people.

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