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Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round

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Fan Letters: “WE KNOW THAT, YA DIVVY!”

Fan frustrations are bubbling over following Sunderland’s defeat to second-place Ipswich — and the owner, Sporting Director and Head Coach are taking the brunt of it. Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Whether you publish this, read it aloud on your podcast, or simply print this letter off and use it as a coaster for your coffee, I feel it needs to be written for the sake of my own sanity:


He spouts utter nonsense and genuinely believes everything that comes out of his own mouth. He tries to spin every bad situation by wording it cleverly to appease the fans. Well, I’m sorry, Del Boy, we aren’t buying it.

“Oh, it was naive of us to give a free-kick away when the boy’s facing the stand” (in regards to Aouchiche’s brain fart tackle).


You took Rusyn out of the line-up in place of Ba; fortunately, he had a decent game; then petulantly got himself booked for waving the imaginary card at the ref. But then when all 2000+ fans at the ground + everyone watching at home could see Ekwah & Jobe running on fumes, you pull Ba off for another winger when sticking on Matete and/or Rusyn could’ve been the stroke of genius you were brought in to create! Rusyn is the only first-team striker to have scored a goal for the Lads since April, and his reward for scoring & putting in a shift against The Mags? Being sat on the bench.

You want to build a confident young side that plays with flair and is dynamic. But benching lads who are clearly talented and run their socks off is killing their confidence. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of Burstow, but to bring a lad on for 2 minutes?! HAWAY MAN!

So what is it that you actually do, Mr. Beale? Because so far, apart from becoming a world-class MC akin to Eminem, you’ve done naff all? Players arguing with each other on the pitch, losing the faith from the fans, and sucking the confidence out of the team is not a very good start to your tenure as a ‘Head Coach’. Would love to see a training session plan for what you get them doing at the AOL because I’ve seen more structure in a melted chocolate bar.

Never been this annoyed with a managerial appointment, ever. I thought Parkinson/Grayson were horrific, going back to Wilkinson, but Beale’s going to take some beating as long as I’m still breathing.

Calum Mills

Ipswich Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

There is something wrong at the heart of this club: from the shop, the ticket office, to the management. The loyalty of the fans who turn up every week (as I do) to watch an underperforming team is incredible. The whole team needs a reboot. Why don’t we change the system to 4-4-2, as too many balls are lost in the midfield? Players who are off form should be rested, and others given a chance. The coach is not the right person for this job. Which coach in any league would put on two underperforming players with 10 minutes to go?

We are out of the playoffs for this season, as teams above us have to lose, which isn’t going to happen, and 7 points from 15 is not promotion form. If we let our best players go, we will be fighting relegation, as teams below us are creeping up the table. Nil Desperandum, instead of consectatio excellentiae...

Bill Calvert

Dear Roker Report,

Looking across social media, Sunderland fans currently come across as a bunch of spoiled, self-entitled brats. Everywhere you look, there are moans about the manager, the club, the owner, the structure.

I know that social media is rarely a place to go if you’re looking for a positive outlook on life, but you guys at RR have become part of the problem - and you should be part of the solution.

We’re 7th in an incredibly tough league even after an indifferent set of results. Our whole season has been one of inconsistency, yet we stand on the edge of the playoff places.

Yes, the striker situation isn’t something a professional club should have made a mess of for so long. But the powers that be have got so many decisions right that we’re gonna have to be patient with them on the striker front. It’s not just us - teams across the country are crying out for that rare breed of a proven goalscorer. SKPs don’t grow on trees.

Roker Report needs to do two things - reflect the mood of the fanbase AND help shape the mood of the fanbase too. Let’s see more positivity and patience from you.

Steven Thompson

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Well, Michael Beale has 2 wins, 2 defeats, and a draw from 5 league games, excluding the debacle in the FA Cup.

Yet again, we play without a striker? Jobe was very poor upfront, and Alex Pritchard is not going to win in aerial battles, standing at 2 feet 7 inches. I think my 3-year-old grandson is taller than Pritchard! He is our best-attacking midfielder but is not a false 9 or any 9!

Abdoullah Ba was okay but mainly because he and the opposition haven’t got a clue what he is going to do. Plus, their goalkeeper was at fault for Clarke’s goal. But they all count.

I can’t remember their goalkeeper having any more saves to make after Clarke’s early shot and then his goal. So not a scintillating attacking display.

I thought Ipswich were poor and there for the taking, but we didn’t have a clue.

Poor defending and a stupid foul gave Ipswich both goals. It’s the same every week.

Back to Ba. He must be Messi, Ronaldo, and Pele on the training ground. But it ain’t showing on the pitch.

Unfortunately, the jury is still out on Beale. And is it just me, or do him and Dodds not get on?

Philip R Wright

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Howdy folks,

Michael Beale is not the man for us.

After watching the display against Ipswich, it’s night and day from the football we were playing under Mowbray. These are young guys who are going to want to play the football they were used to under Mowbray, and this is the complete opposite.

Beale said after the game he shares our frustrations, but all the frustrations are from his selections. What happened to giving Rusyn a run in the side? The only striker who has now scored for us, and he’s benched again and only comes on with 10 minutes left; it’s absurd. The strikers all need game time to get acclimatized to the demands of football in the UK, and that simply is not going to happen with them on the bench or playing in the U21s.

This football is not going to get any better, and this is going to be a long slog for the rest of the season.

We had an opportunity to go for something somewhat different with our coach, and it didn’t happen. As much as the board has done for getting us some very important and special players, the head coach position, as of yet, hasn’t matched that same level.

Michael Bird

Ipswich Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Portman Road Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Speakman and Beale. What a pair of clowns we have at our football club. Tony Mowbray should never have been replaced by IAN BEALE. He did NOTHING at QPR or Rangers, and he will do NOTHING at Sunderland. Incompetence comes to mind. Should have kept Tony Mowbray. SPEAKMAN, HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME. You should have stayed at Birmingham. YOU ARE INCOMPETENT AT YOUR JOB, especially in player recruitment. In any other workplace, being incompetent at your job would get you sacked. Embarrassing.

Rob Brown

Sunderland v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

So there we have it, after all that we’ve been through as Sunderland supporters in the last few weeks, this guy is our owners, board, and hierarchy’s choice of first-team coach. I absolutely despair. Giving up my beloved season tickets was never an easy choice; I’m missing sitting in those seats already. I’ve had a tough life; I’m bipolar because of it. A few weeks ago, I traveled from Whitley Bay via metro to Sunderland City Centre. I then took a bus from Park Lane to see my best mate Caroline at Washington. Every stop that bus made on my journey was painful; there were many times I just struggled to stay on that damn bus. However, I knew where I was going; I was going to see my best friend, a lifelong school friend who I love with all my heart. Caroline has never let me down.

The Stadium of Light is my only home in Sunderland, my birthplace. I’ve experienced real joy, passion always and a fair amount of frustration and pain over the years. The thing that really kills us as Sunderland supporters is when things are going well, really well and the owners, board, hierarchy just can’t help themselves to just mess it up for us. It’s not just the present owners; this has happened over and over again for years and years.

I’m 60 in a few weeks, and my god, have I had a life, an incredibly difficult life through no fault of my own. I’m finally at the point in my life when I’m saying enough of this, I’m not taking any more crap from anyone ever again. For those who chose to take the piss out of my comments regarding the new horrible pies, you missed the point entirely. To save a few quid, the club changed the pies, knowing they were substandard. In their complete disregard for us, the supporters, as I said previously, they feed us crap from every angle and expect us just to swallow it. All I’m saying is no, enough of this complete and utter nonsense. I deserve better; all us Sunderland supporters deserve better, the tens of thousands of Sunderland supporters here in the North East and around this country deserve better. The hundreds of thousands of Sunderland supporters around the World deserve better.

I never asked you to publish Karen demands, etc. I said Publish if you wish lads; I think it needs to be out there. I never asked you to publish Ticket Office, and you did. I’m asking you lads at Roker Report for the first time, please publish Michael Beale Out, not for the title, just everything I’ve said in those words and everything between my lines. The only place I’ve ever been happy, safe, joyful, absolutely completely alive, and at peace with my life and myself is within the Stadium of Light at Sunderland, and I have had to give that up just so the owners, board, and hierarchy sit up and take notice even if it’s just for a few days a week or so. I’m prepared to give that up to make my point.

Lads, I live in Whitley Bay for a reason, many reasons I could not ever live in Sunderland or Washington again. I’ve lived here for 37 years, but the Stadium of Light has always been my only true home in Sunderland for years.

Karen Kerrison


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