Dear Roker Report,
This is the first time I’ve emailed you, but a couple of things have annoyed me recently.
I’ll start with the complaints about fans being moved from their seats for the Newcastle game.
For cup ties in recent years, we’ve barely been able to fill one stand, let alone the ground. A season card doesn’t give you the right to your normal seat and tickets for cup ties aren’t included, but I can’t remember any complaints three or four years ago.
Despite that, I do maintain that all away fans should be moved back to where they were when the Stadium of Light first opened.
My next gripe is based on how many of our fans leave the ground when things are going wrong.
I’m sick of hearing ‘is this a fire drill?’ as the stadium empties halfway through a game, and although I bet many of them are standing up and blasting out ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’ when things are going well, is it sometimes a case of ‘Sunderland until you don’t like what you see’?
You should be supporting the team through thick and thin, and it was particularly embarrassing on Saturday as we gave Newcastle and their fans even more reason to laugh at us.
Let’s get behind the team no matter what. That’s what being a true supporter is all about.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Brian. Thanks for your letter.
Although your argument about attendances at cup ties in recent years not being particularly strong is valid, a Wear-Tyne derby was always going to be something completely different and giving the Newcastle fans one whole stand, not to mention all of the hospitality perks, just felt as though we were handing them a boost before the game even kicked off.
Regarding the atmosphere, this is a debate that’s not going away any time soon.
There’s often quite an uneasy vibe inside the stadium, particularly if the Lads don’t get off to a fast start, but maybe that’s a result of four years in League One and no small amount of humiliation along the way.
The scars from that era remain, and maybe we’re still concerned that things are likely to go wrong rather than fully embracing the challenge of home games, which is certainly what we used to do at the Stadium of Light in years gone by.
Dear Roker Report,
I’m writing in response to an article published in a Newcastle fanzine on 10/01/2024, during the aftermath of our FA Cup defeat on Saturday, regarding just how ‘big’ a victory it was for the Magpies.
I’m not going to delve too deeply as to why they felt the need to write the article, other than to say that it does their credibility and/or integrity no favours at all.
I could argue that they only won the match due to three errors on our part from Trai Hume (the goal would’ve been scored even if Dan Ballard had left the ball alone), Pierre Ekwah and Jack Clarke.
However, I’m not deluded, and they were the better team on the day.
On the other hand, what surprised me was that Newcastle’s players felt the need to take a team photo on the pitch despite not actually having won a cup, and that’s one for the scrapbook with the football world in general seemingly commenting on it.
Of course, I can understand the temptation for Newcastle to act as if they were the winners of a competitive cup competition, given their most recent successes date back to 1968/1969 and 1954/1955, but it doesn’t work that way!
This photo merely served to make a further mockery of Newcastle United and its efforts to be viewed as a ‘big club’, but unfortunately ‘pretend’ cups don’t count.
Of course, we have significant issues of our own to sort at the moment, but delusion in this regard isn’t one.
I’d also like to say that I very much support the letter you printed from Karen Kerrison.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Neal. Thanks for getting in touch.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t surprised by Newcastle’s players’ decision to take a photograph in front of a packed North Stand after the game on Saturday.
Rumour has it that it was coordinated by their assistant coach Jason Tindall, a man who’s never seen a camera he hasn’t loved, so it was to be expected, in my opinion.
Had we won in similar fashion at St James’ Park, you can bet your life that we would’ve milked it for all it was worth.
All’s fair in love, war and and post-derby banter, after all, and I think we just need to take this one on the chin and move on from it, even if Newcastle celebrated a win over us for the first time in over a decade.
Dear Roker Report,
If we sell Jack Clarke it’ll be another huge mistake.
We’ve done the same thing in the past and regretted it, so please don’t do it again.
If we’re to return to the Premier League, we need to keep all of our best and most influential players, and if we let someone like Clarke go, it’ll cost the club more than money.
A deeply concerned fan
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi. Thanks for your letter.
I agree that selling Clarke in January would be another mistake from the club, and after what’s happened recently, they certainly don’t need to bring about any further PR disasters.
That said, if a top flight team swoops in with an offer of £30 million or more in the summer, it’s almost certain that we’ll sell, on the basis that the money would be reinvested into the playing squad.
We’ve put this squad together for a fairly modest outlay, after all, and it would be interesting to see what we could achieve in the transfer market with a greater amount of money to work with.