Dear Roker Report,
We are a proud, working-class city in the Northeast of England, I was born in this city.
It seriously disappoints me when I read letters and editorial comments about how it’s difficult to attract signings to Sunderland because of where we are, these are just excuses, excuses, and more excuses. This attitude is disrespectful to the city, the people that live in city and to the region. These letters and comments imply that we are prepared to settle for second best because of where we are. Under no circumstances should we settle for second best because of where we are.
I appreciate and understand it can be more difficult, but it just means we have to work harder, work better, be savvier, sell the vision, sell the city, have the best support network in place for any new signings and their family etc… There are plenty of successful businesspeople and companies from Sunderland who have had to work harder and better because of where they come from. Surely, the same principles should apply to our football club.
Coventry, Leeds, Middlesborough, Southampton, Stoke City have all managed to attract marquee signings so far. What have these cities got that Sunderland hasn’t?
The right player will come for the right reasons, it’s down to the recruitment department to find them. Please, let’s have no more negativity about our city as an excuse for the lack of quality signings.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I think Sunderland is a fantastic place - well, parts of it are - but that’s because I live here. Like you, I have an emotional connection to the area.
But a footballer with zero connection to the city doesn’t share that same emotional tie to the city. The truth of the matter is that being a professional footballer is a job and for most players they just want to get paid as much as they can, and play regular games.
We almost went bust on more than one occasion in recent years and then spent four years in League One. The reality really is that, given this is just our second season at this level, we only have the ability to do so much when it comes to what we can spend.
We’re shopping in a different pool of players to most of the teams you listed there. Coventry have sold their best two players for big money which is why they’ve been able to sign players for big money. Leeds and Southampton have sold players for big money and have the benefit of parachute payments, and the fact they’ve had a Premier League budget for the last god knows how many years. Stoke have spent a lot of money but I’m not sure I’d call any of their signings ‘marquee’ - likewise Boro, who haven’t really signed anyone of note... yet.
I don’t think Sunderland’s area is a major factor in whether a player decides to come here, unless they have a straight choice between living here and living in a big city where the lifestyle is just better. Then players have a decision to make.
Dear Roker Report,
I know I’m likely to get criticised, and I’ll say at the start that I’m definitely not advocating a policy where we splash out millions on hasbeens or nobodies.
However, the window opened on June 1st and we needed at least one striker, maybe even two to supplement Ross Stewart, not to mention experience in midfield.
I understand the market is difficult, I accept that we have signed two strikers, however at present certainly regarding Hemir, he’s nowhere near ready and it would seem that Mowbray thinks the same.
Now Stewart looks like his days in this version of red & white are over, we still need exactly what we needed over two months ago.
Much has been said about our recruitment team doing a fantastic job, however as yet are the likes of Bennette & Ba ready to make an impact? Judging by some of the fans near me at Coventry on Saturday playing Ba is like “playing with 10 men” and Lihadji has gone.
I’m not at all convinced or confident that we will bring in what we need and would suggest that we are a poorer team/squad than this time last season.
I genuinely hope and want to be proved wrong, but can’t help feeling we will be left frustrated and disappointed come 11pm on Friday. Just maybe Alex Neil had a point.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: I’m more optimistic than you I think. We all share the same concerns over the make-up of the squad and know what we need, but I’m reserving judgement until the window is actually shut and I’m in a position where I can point out where we went right, where we went wrong and all the rest of it.
I’ve got no issue with players leaving if it makes sense to let them go. So if Ross Stewart heads to Southampton but the money we claw back enables us to sign the 3, 4, 5 players we need them I’m content with that.
Let’s wait and see. There’s still time and I’m sure they’re under no illusions over what we need.
Dear Roker Report,
I am sick and tired of the Stewart situation - let him go, he doesn’t want to be at the club.
I think this is all about not getting a good deal, as we have a billionaire owner who is like Mike Ashley - brings players in to make money. I would rather have owners who love Sunderland football club and our fantastic supporters.