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Fan Letters: ‘You simply can’t let your player of the season go!’

Danny Batth’s rumoured departure continues to perplex, while there are calls to get behind Kristjaan Speakman and KLD. Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I just felt that I needed to write in to support the team and the management structure.

Last season was really entertaining to watch and, although I’m disappointed that we did not get into the Premier League, if we play like that this season, I will be once again looking forward to each match.

We didn’t play great in the second half against Ipswich but still were unlucky not to get a draw with only ten men.

On another day, we could have had a penalty and it wasn’t a sending off for me. Once the new players get settled and hopefully get another striker in, I’m sure the results will come.

Booing the team does nothing but dent confidence so I would never support that.


Dear Roker Report,

I’ve been listening to the pod and there's a few things I’d like to touch on.

First off, I think Jobe looked very tidy when he was on and I think he will play a substantial part throughout the season. That said, (bare with me) I wouldn’t have started him first game of the season. At least not in behind Hemir. We were crying out for a Pritchard (or Dack when he’s up to speed) to really bring Hemir into the game and get the ball rolling for him. All of Hemir’s goals in pre-season came from balls into the box.

Secondly, I see why TM had Ekwah playing a bit deeper because of his size, but to be honest; I’d have had Neil doing the donkey work and would have preferred to see Ekwah in a more advanced role. I think out of the two he’s more likely to play that ‘killer pass’ we so greatly lacked.

I know yous rubbished the idea of TM bringing off Hemir to make the point we have no replacement, and I’m inclined to agree. That being said, I would love to understand the reason for the substitutions he made.

It's well documented that Pritchard plays better with a focal point to play off and someone to get balls into. Why on earth would TM bring him on while taking off Hemir? Worse still, why is it that the minute Hemir came off, we started firing balls into the box? If I was Hemir I would be pulling my hair out!

Finally, If KS lets Batth go that won't be the first time he’s weakened the squad. I know he has made some brilliant signings, and on the whole, he has done a good job with the budget he has, but you simply can't let your player of the season go. That’s without mentioning Pritchard and Gooch.

Apologies for the novel!

Concerned Supporter

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email! There’s a few things to pick through there. Firstly, I think Bellingham played well, and if he’d scored when he should have, we’d all have been saying it was a great decision to play him! Whether he should have started or not is another matter – I guess it helps him settle in, and I suspect he’s been told he’ll be a big player for us this season. Allegedly Batth, Gooch and Pritchard have been told they can leave, and it remains to be seen how quickly they depart the club. I agree with you re Batth – to my mind he absolutely should be in the team right now, as should Pritchard, who linked up so well with Hemir in pre-season. If we let either of them go, our squad will be weaker – however, we’ve now got Ballard, Alese, O’Nien, Triantis and Seelt who can play centre back – we’re not going to carry six central defenders, and the other five aren’t going anywhere. Mowbray’s subs were strange on Sunday, but to be honest I frequently think his subs are odd – it often seems he’s rolling the dice, rather than being strategic. As for Ekwah, I think he’s better further forward too – he’s got more attacking nous than Neil has, and I’d prefer to see Neil the deeper of the two.

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

Dear Roker Report,

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about backing the manager. Although I do agree that Tony Mowbray deserves our support and should be applauded for his work with the club so far, it’s often overlooked that Sunderland are no longer a traditional club.

Having a Sporting Director in KS doesn’t just mean that Tony has less say in transfers but it also means the club has a long-term vision of the style of play of the club. In theory, this would lead to a more sustainable and consistent style of football regardless of the manager in charge. Whether you agree with it or not, it is the model that most are adopting in Football as that’s been successfully used in other sports.

As fans, we always look at immediate success and so it’s easy to forget how low we’d fallen not that long ago and how far yet we have to climb. So let’s back KS and KLD. The work being done today is serving the long-term vision and sustainability of the club. Work that has honestly just begun.



Ed’s Note [Martin]: As football fans, our mood’s often dictated by the last result – and that’s understandable. However, we’ve got to be looking at the bigger picture too. Our improvement over the past, what, 2.5 seasons has been remarkable, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue. I am a bit concerned over the heightened expectation this season though – while we did scrape into the playoffs last year, in most other seasons, our points total wouldn’t have got us anywhere near. The playing style is coming from the top, but you’ve got to have a head coach who’s capable of playing that way too, and Mowbray’s proved throughout his managerial career that he’s the type of manager to play attractive, passing football with youthful teams. That ‘head coach’ role, however, is far more interchangeable than a traditional manager’s job, and if KLD and KS see an opportunity to improve anywhere, they’ll take it.

Sunderland v Crewe Alexandra - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

When are we going to Stop whinging on about Amad? He has gone and won’t be back, but nearly every letter comes up with this player! No doubt he is first class, but we need to move on. I suggest Roberts on the right wing with Gooch behind him, as the games I’ve watched with both players on the pitch, they team up very well.

But my motto is “Man who asks for nothing shall never be disappointed “. So I won’t be expecting miracles.

Bill Calvert

Ed’s Note [Martin]: Thanks for the email Bill. Amad’s out injured for ‘the first part’ of the season, so he won’t be going anywhere for now. While he was excellent for us last season, it’s easy to forget it wasn’t until November time he actually started being effective. While it would be great to get him back it won’t happen now, although I reckon January’s a possibility.

Gooch is a funny one. I actually like him at right back from an attacking perspective – he links up with Roberts well, and gets down the line, but defensively he’s not great and can cost us. Trai Hume’s the first choice right back for now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Anyway, I suspect Gooch might be one who leaves before the transfer deadline.


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