Dear Roker Report,
Prompted by Philip’s ‘Editorial’ on Monday morning, I wanted to support his points on the club’s infrastructure and customer service falling woefully short of the progress made on the recruitment and playing front.
As a Sunderland supporter of over sixty years, I have to say that the customer service during the last few years has been appalling.
Last week, I tried unsuccessfully to call the ticket office to pay my car park fee of £210.
Eventually, a polite young lady phoned me back and I duly paid my £210, but when I asked how I would access the car park (by ticket or another method) she said she couldn’t tell me.
This came after I paid for my season ticket some weeks ago, not having a smart phone, and being told in an email that I’ll be told how to access the stadium later in July.
I’ve now paid over £500 and I still don’t know whether or how I’ll be able to access the car park and the stadium. Where else would you pay so much money for products that don’t guarantee results?
Could Steve Davison answer this question, and can I also suggest that the club puts Luke O’Nien in the ticket office? That is of course, unless he’s practising to cover for Anthony Patterson in goal.
Haway the Lads!
Ed’s Note [Phil] Hi, Colin. Thank you for your letter!
The points you outline are exactly what I was trying to cover in Monday’s ‘Editorial’, and it’s sad to hear that longtime fans such as yourself aren’t receiving the level of customer service that a club such as Sunderland should be providing.
We know that the club is understaffed in key areas, but an easily contactable ticket office and accessibility when it comes to season tickets aren’t asking for much.
These are the basics that every club with high standards and aspirations of success should be implementing, and it’s absolutely crucial that Steve Davison and his team addresses these issues and takes practical steps to solve them.
On the pitch, we've got a team to be proud of, but in other areas, things are nowhere near the level they should be and at Roker Report, we’ll keep highlighting it wherever possible.
Dear Roker Report,
Below is a letter from my twelve-year-old son.
Watching games with him and his brother are both joyous and painful because they’re knowledgeable beyond their years about player statistics and ratings (I suspect this comes from Xbox ‘FIFA’) but they’re oblivious about what a fair tackle looks like!
This regularly means the referee and assistant referee are the focus of some irate rants, and most memorably, he finished one such rant with, ‘Referee, you’re such a disappointment!’, and we all know it doesn’t get more damning than that.
Anyway, he’s penned a few of his thoughts below, so here you go.
‘Sunderland’s Striker Options’, by Eddie Boyling (aged twelve)
Ross Stewart is a very good goal scorer.
Last season, he played thirteen games and scored ten goals in the Championship, but he’s the only proven centre forward at the club and although he’s a good striker, he’s suffered two long-term injuries, so Sunderland need a backup.
A good option could be Ellis Simms, as he was on loan at the club last season before being recalled in January. Another could be Blackpool striker Jerry Yates, who was their top goal scorer last season.
Due to the fact they got relegated, I doubt we would have a problem getting him and at the time of writing, he’s still a Blackpool player.
After Norwich’s poor season, American striker Josh Sargent could be a player who starts alongside Stewart instead of being a backup to him. We could always look in the foreign market like we did for Jewison Bennette, Luis Semedo, Jenson Seelt and Nectarios Triantis!
Having a wealthy owner like Kyril Louis-Dreyfus helps us and it means we could possibly get a striker from the Premier League, like we did with Simms.
I think it’s clear that we need more depth and similar quality in the striker’s role.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi Lee and Eddie! Thanks for getting in touch and sharing your thoughts!
I do agree that we need at least one more striker this summer.
Luis Semedo looks like an exciting signing, but he might take a bit of time to settle, so another centre forward to take the pressure off him as we wait for Ross Stewart to recover would be great.
I think that Ellis Simms would be a great signing, maybe even on a permanent transfer instead of a loan deal.
He was excellent for us last season but the question is whether we’d be prepared to pay the fee of £7 million that people have spoken about. That’s a lot of money by our standards but even if Simms doesn’t return, I’m sure we’ll have other targets in mind!
Dear Roker Report,
I think it’s gotten to the point of no return for Ross Stewart,
As a club, we must now exercise our right to set an ultimatum: either sign the contract offered or go to a club that you think will give you the contract you desire.
This situation has gone on way longer than necessary, and he must not be allowed to leave for free next year. We need to go out and attract a new and experienced striker, so that Stewart knows it’s not a bluff from the club hierarchy.
I for one will be disappointed to see him go, but no player is bigger than the club anymore.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Harry. Thanks for your letter.
There’s no doubt that this situation needs to be resolved one way or another.
Stewart is an excellent player and he’s been great for us, but I like the fact that the club hasn’t stood still, and bringing in Luis Semedo shows that they’re adding depth up front.
Personally, I’d love it if a contract could be worked out which would keep Stewart at Sunderland for the foreseeable future, but I’m not as worried about it as I was a year ago.
We’ve shown that we can score goals in his absence, after all, and as you say, we can’t afford to hang our hats on a whether a single player chooses to stay at the club or leave.
We have to keep moving forward, but I’m still optimistic that the big Scot will remain a Sunderland player beyond this coming season.