Dear Roker Report,
Many thanks to the older boys for what they did to get the club back into the Championship, which is why they’re where they are today.
I’m sorry about the way so if you had to leave and were genuinely pushed out.
You all know your worth and you’re amazing, so don’t listen to the negative press because they haven’t got a clue as to who you all are. You’ve got class and heart and you had a lot of love for the club.
Certain people didn’t turn around and do the same for you guys but the fans are amazing and those boys will all need your love and support.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Irene. Thanks for your letter.
There’s no doubt that Lynden, as well as Danny Batth and Ross Stewart, were three much-loved players among the Sunderland fan base and there was a lot of sadness on deadline day when they left the club.
As you rightly say, all three players should rightly be lauded for the role they played in helping us get back to the Championship, as well as enjoying a successful first season at this level.
It’s always tough when respected players leave a club and I’m sure those making the decisions were aware that it might not be popular. However, I’m also sure that the next time we cross paths with their new clubs, they’ll get a great reception from our fans, which is the way it should be.
Dear Roker Report,
How do you feel about the Lads’ pre-season now that we’re a few games in?
To me, it looks like we weren’t ready for the start of the season. Whether it was mentally or physically, we didn’t look match fit and threw away points in two games we should’ve been winning, in my opinion.
It probably seems harsh considering how well we played against Southampton, but the margins in this league are so fine. The six points dropped against Ipswich and Rotherham, who I would say are objectively weaker, could come back to bite us in the run-in.
I also felt this lack of match sharpness is why we dropped out of the League Cup.
Although I don’t expect to be challenging in the final, I think a few extra games in the cup are always useful to keep fringe players fit, especially as we can expect some interest in our first team players in January.
Those extra minutes for lads building fitness could be vital to get them up and running should we lose players in the transfer window.
As we saw last season, the finest details matter, so do you think the club did enough this summer to get the lads up to speed?
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Jay. Thanks for getting in touch.
I think it’s a very interesting point that you’ve raised.
Fundamentally, the American trip was clearly designed to integrate the new signings into the squad, as well as allowing Tony Mowbray a chance to give everyone some game time and to also provide players such as Chris Rigg with an opportunity to gain experience around the first team.
The fitness aspect, which would’ve doubtless been in their thinking as well, was clearly affected by the hot and humid conditions in which we played.
Did we bite off more than we could chew? Difficult to say, but the opening results of the league campaign certainly hinted at a lack of sharpness, without a doubt.
I’ve always felt that putting a pre-season schedule together is a tricky task.
If we’d played games against top level opponents and players had suffered injuries, there would’ve been criticism, but on the other hand, if you play ‘easier’ games as we did, you always run the risk of entering the new season slightly undercooked.
Hopefully the club will take it on board ahead of next summer, and it’ll be interesting to see how our pre-season schedule looks ahead of the 2024/2025 campaign.
Dear Roker Report,
I wrote to you about the drawn-out mystery surrounding the alleged signing of Nazariy Rusyn.
The story continued when the Sunderland Echo reported that he was now in Sunderland and his injury was now a groin problem and not a potentially serious pubic bone injury.
If he’s actually in Sunderland, where’s his picture wearing a red & white shirt and holding a scarf above his head? Does this lad actually exist?
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Stuart. Thanks for your letter.
On Saturday night, a video was circulating on social media that apparently showed Rusyn at a pub in Seaburn, so he’s obviously in the local area and will presumably be unveiled as a Sunderland player in the next few days.
Ultimately, we've signed a player from a country that’s currently embroiled in a violent and terribly costly war, and there have clearly been many bureaucratic hurdles to overcome and a lot of red tape to negotiate, making it a challenging and unique kind of transfer.
The fact that the club has pursued Rusyn in spite of all the difficulties is encouraging and it shows just how keen we’ve been to bring him to Wearside.