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Post  Guest on 2013-10-21, 3:40 am

Maybe some will enjoy this article, some won't...sometimes the truth hurts.




This is going to come across like a right whinge. Mainly, because that's exactly what it is, and that's easy to do after such an awful loss, however yesterday simply makes up a small portion of what is ultimately the worst situation Sunderland have been in for years.

I'm not in my 25th year of following this club all round the country. From a spot in the Main Stand Paddock where on account of my shortness I had to basically jump for 90 minutes in order to get a glimpse of 'heroes' such as Anton Rogan, Brian Atkinson and Warren Hawke. From such heady days to all round the country. Defeats at the likes of Southend and Port Vale on Tuesday nights, to using toilets worse than that featured in the film Trainspotting at Fratton Park.

That's not to say it's all been bad. I've seen on very fleeting occasions some scintillating football, numerous promotions and even been to Wembley on several occasions to proudly support Sunderland, although they've always ended in misery.

During the good and the bad there was always at least a connection to the club. It was MY club, it was OUR club. However it's hard to get over a feeling that's been lingering over me for best part of six months now that this is very much THEIR club, which we have been kindly allowed to watch. How gracious.

Who exactly are THEY though? Well it's pretty much everyone involved from top to bottom, and unfortunately I only have questions rather than answers.

It feels very much at the moment that the regime running the club are not only clueless, but really couldn't give a flying one about how things are going.

The actions in replacing managers has in my mind, still been the correct decision. For me Messrs Bruce, O'Neill and Di Canio all were not the answers and had to go. We'll wait and see how long it is before Gus Poyet adds his name to that list.

Ultimately though they had to go as they should never have been there in the first place. Martin O'Neill was nothing more than a crowd-pleasing choice. When it was between him and Mark Hughes for the job, I was routinely mocked for not getting aboard the O'Neill Bandwagon, citing that I felt he'd been out of the game for too long. That's not to say Hughes would have done any better, nor was he my particular choice, that was simply my main concern.

As time elapsed it seems as though I was ultimately right, and he couldn't keep up the initial passion or buzz, and found himself with 20+ players, none of whom were willing to play for him. I don't want to say "I told you so" because I've said plenty other stuff and been completely wrong, however it would be difficult to argue against my early point.

Enter Paolo Di Canio.

A questionable character that we felt we had to get on with. The media at large were against him from day one, and we, on these very pages, staunchly defended his character and his methodology. Because that's kinda what you have to do as a fan when people are attacking something that is very much YOURS.

We all knew there were flaws. We didn't realise quite how massive they would be before the ultimately left the club last month.

Then again, we must question how he was even appointed. If you recall it was a whirlwind from O'Neill going to Di Canio being in in less than 48-hours.

Rumours, which have yet to be denied, that Paolo put his name in the frame during a chance meeting with Ellis Short in a London restaurant seem entirely believable at this moment. Given this supposed meeting and the speed at which he was appointed, can we say that any due diligence was done? It sounds little more than jobs for the boys, likeability becoming much more important than skill.

There was also for Di Canio the two-and-a-half year contract. He must have been one hell of a salesman as they chatted across over-priced salads and bottles of Dom.

Less we forget the club going into a PR lockdown on Di Canio, allowing little-to-no access for the press to ask questions, instead opting to put out a pre-recorded message from Paolo which was apparently all we'd get.

After all, we were merely fans, and this is what we deserve. In the eyes of Sunderland's higher-ups. WE, those in charge are Sunderland, WE'LL do what WE want, and you can just deal with it.

Needless to say this is also around the time that Sunderland installed the mysterious Roberto De Fanti as the club's director of football. Another man with no experience of such a role. Combined with Ellis Short's new interest in the game, and having recently only rose to prominence at the club himself, there was only a handful of years at the club in terms of experience in the positions to which they were anointed. "The blind leading the blind" couldn't be more apt.

So it was little surprise when Di Canio was ousted. A slapdash decision to appoint him was ended in a slapdash manner.

And what of De Fanti? The man remains at the club. Of course he does. Further rumours of him being appointed on the basis of his contacts (of which little to none have been used) are outweighed by those that he was appointed, and will remain at the club for quite some time on the basis he's a family friend of Short's significantly.

Nobody really knows why he is here, or what he is contributing to the cause. He has given one interview. To, quelle surprise, to the club on their online TV station, where absolutely nothing of note was addressed. Much like everything from this small-minded regime, this was our lot and we were supposed to be happy enough with that.

Needless to say there's this whole Phil Bardsley fiasco which is nothing more than a slap in the face. A huge one at that. We've been given absolutely no apology for his actions of flaunting himself in public without an ounce of dignity, and his return and apology are merely the tipping point.

There isn't a full apology. Just that WE, the idiots who have supported him, misunderstood him. He's been doing great in training though. The club cannot tell us that enough times. Bully for him.

Don't complain little fan, you're just a customer. At best.

This public shutting down of anything remotely questioning authority extends behind the scenes too. Since this site started we have been embroiled in three legal battles with the club, who would love nothing more than to see us at Roker Report shut down permanently. How dare we have a voice. Olive branches and favours toward the club have fell on deaf ears.

I've never felt such disdain. Especially by those I used to work alongside. Yes, early in my life I was part of the Sunderland machine.

We had Bob Murray at the helm then. Possibly the most maligned owner of my lifetime. Even as a youth I'd been part of the now infamous "red card protest" against him. One time we laughed about that, and he accepted his foibles. Say what you like about him for not spending as much as we'd have liked him to, but my word, at least he gave a shit and was willing to engage in conversation about how things were going a the club.

Looking back even just three years we had Niall Quinn at the club. The great man made a hell of a lot of mistakes too in his time as manager and as chairman, but my word he had some soul and some connection to us mere mortals in the stands. At least at that time we were never treat with the contempt we are now.

Sunderland football club has completely lost it's soul. Usually in a derby week like the one upcoming, I'm a sack of nerves and a quivering wreck. Now quite honestly I feel little more than duty-bound to watch the game out of some sort of sense of 'loyalty'. The kind the club take for granted, and play on constantly to guilt you back into your seat.

In reality, I really couldn't give a bollocks if we win, lose or draw against what used to be for me one of the biggest times of the year. A win would merely paper over the cracks, and quite honestly be used as a tool to get everyone fooled into the fact that "things have changed, come back".

I've fallen for that one too many times I'm afraid. There's no "football" people at the club running it. We're run by agents, businessmen and lawyers who see little more than pound signs in the stands every week, not a group of people to whom they should have some obligation to.

I'm not harkening back for some sort of Stand Against Modern Football rubbish which some do, back to the good old days when fans were fans, and footballers were paid like normal people. I like modern football. I like being able to sit down and from time to time see some quality footballers, the likes of which the world has never seen.

However it's entirely possible to do that and also have some soul. It's not an either/or choice.

I doubt that this will matter at all mind, as nothing infiltrates the bubble which the club have created around themselves. The one which blinkers them from reality and disconnects them from what was an adoring public. Still, at least it lets THEM set the agenda. Which is truly all they've ever wanted. All it's done though his alienate people and switch them off.

Until this club can completely sort things out, from top to bottom, they're going to have to consider this customer a non-returning one, having checked out for good.

Well done everyone involved.

http://rokerreport.sbnation.com/2013/10/20/4857728/thank-you-for-shopping-at-sunderland-please-come-again
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Post  cyprussyd on 2013-10-21, 4:46 am

I may well be wrong in my actions but I'm afraid I stopped reading very early on, not necessarily because anything said was wrong but because of two things.

1. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

2. And probably my main thing, we have been through it all and for me now its all about trying to pull together, game by game to do what we can to get us out of this hole.

Whatever the outcome to the season I have already decided that season end is when my review comes, or relegation if it comes.

The disconnect between me and the club probably started when Quinn left and I will always be a Sunderland fan, season end will decide if I continue to be a paying fan.

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Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2013-10-21, 6:40 am

Like you say Comm, The truth hurts. 
A good friend who was born in Liverpool before moving here in his teens said a couple of weeks back that he'd expected them to fall as far as we have now but never gave up hope that THE CLUB would survive the owners & management who come & go. I told him that it'd be easier to stomach after we'd won a few European Cups...then my mood might change....lol

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Post  Guest on 2013-10-21, 6:55 am

Black Cat Kiwi wrote:Like you say Comm, The truth hurts. 
A good friend who was born in Liverpool before moving here in his teens said a couple of weeks back that he'd expected them to fall as far as we have now but never gave up hope that THE CLUB would survive the owners & management who come & go. I told him that it'd be easier to stomach after we'd won a few European Cups...then my mood might change....lol
What do you reckon mate. ES goning to try and sell up, or he'll stick with it?

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Post  MrRAWhite on 2013-10-21, 8:25 am

commachio wrote:
Black Cat Kiwi wrote:Like you say Comm, The truth hurts. 
A good friend who was born in Liverpool before moving here in his teens said a couple of weeks back that he'd expected them to fall as far as we have now but never gave up hope that THE CLUB would survive the owners & management who come & go. I told him that it'd be easier to stomach after we'd won a few European Cups...then my mood might change....lol
What do you reckon mate. ES goning to try and sell up, or he'll stick with it?

Whatever Ellis decides to do, I will still be there supporting the club I love..

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Post  cyprussyd on 2013-10-21, 9:33 am

Black Cat Kiwi wrote:Like you say Comm, The truth hurts. 
A good friend who was born in Liverpool before moving here in his teens said a couple of weeks back that he'd expected them to fall as far as we have now but never gave up hope that THE CLUB would survive the owners & management who come & go. I told him that it'd be easier to stomach after we'd won a few European Cups...then my mood might change....lol
TBH, it does not hurt at all, I think results, performance all can hurt but eventually you become immune to it, may annoy for a day or two then life goes on.

When the hurt stage comes, if it stays, you stop going but at the moment, despite everything going on I am really looking forward to the weekend.

I have said a number of times there is a massive difference for me between being at the game to watching or listening on radio, TV and that is the occasion, its the occasion I look forward to.

Rightly or wrongly I enjoy the build up, my chat with Idle Ian and Les, banter with Sunders and Scatty Moo, more that the game on many occasions.

When you dont or cant go to games, for me away games, I am left with the game and miss the build up. Last game I enjoyed because I was chatting to Les, H, Scatts,Gill,,Poolie on chatbox and I enjoyed that.

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Post  Hieronymus on 2013-10-21, 10:54 am

Interesting post Commo. One thing came to my mind as I read that article "Be careful what you wish for!"

I suspect most of us on here have already gone through all that stuff years ago, as it seems the author is a fair bit younger than many of the posters on this forum! I also suspect that Roker Report's differences with the club have coloured their opinions. I understand the view that 'our' club has been taken away from us and is now run by faceless accountants, who don't care as much as the fans. But, personally, I would rather have Ellis Short than owners like those at Blackburn, Birmingham and now Cardiff. Also, despite everything, this season we have seen better football than we have for years, until the confidence got knocked out of the players by Di Canio's bullying antics. As fans there is no point in making things worse by calling for more heads to roll. A mistake was made and it was rectified as quickly as possible, so now we need to support them and give the new regime a chance.
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Post  Guest on 2013-10-21, 12:49 pm

I've always admired the standards of Roker Report, but that is by far the worst article I have ever seen from them.

"It was always OUR club" - who the hell is he kidding?  If fans had had any say or were ever taken notice of, Alan Brown would have been out of here by Xmas 1957.  We hated his guts already and he'd only been there since summer!  And if fans had been listened to, they'd never have sacked Ian McColl to fetch Brown back.  When we finally ridded ourselves of Brown, the very last thing the fans wanted was an ex-Mag whose only managerial experience was Blackpool, Rochdale and Carlisle, and unlike di Canio and Poyet, he'd got none of them promoted.  Due diligence? - was there ever a more useless haphazard appointment than that one in November '72?  Lack of ambition or what! (Ironic really that there is now a statue of Stokoe in front of the SoL!)

And when Peter Reid signed a washed up Niall Quinn, you could count on one hand the fans who wanted him.  Jobs for the boys - that signing stank of it.

All of this happened ten to fifty years ago.  So what is this idiot talking about, OUR club!  It was never our club.  The men who pour their hard-earned money into buying the club will ultimately make the decisions.  That is final and the fans must think what they like about it.  It's been that way since the late 1880s, when Thompson, Marr and Tyzack bought it.  And it will remain that way whether Roker Report like it or not.

We've had a hard couple of seasons, and I just think everyone is looking for a scapegoat right now.  And they're not too fussy where they find it.  I'm an Ellis Short fan, and I will remain so.
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Post  Guest on 2013-10-21, 1:35 pm

cuteybuns wrote:I've always admired the standards of Roker Report, but that is by far the worst article I have ever seen from them.

"It was always OUR club" - who the hell is he kidding?  If fans had had any say or were ever taken notice of, Alan Brown would have been out of here by Xmas 1957.  We hated his guts already and he'd only been there since summer!  And if fans had been listened to, they'd never have sacked Ian McColl to fetch Brown back.  When we finally ridded ourselves of Brown, the very last thing the fans wanted was an ex-Mag whose only managerial experience was Blackpool, Rochdale and Carlisle, and unlike di Canio and Poyet, he'd got none of them promoted.  Due diligence? - was there ever a more useless haphazard appointment than that one in November '72?  Lack of ambition or what! (Ironic really that there is now a statue of Stokoe in front of the SoL!)

And when Peter Reid signed a washed up Niall Quinn, you could count on one hand the fans who wanted him.  Jobs for the boys - that signing stank of it.

All of this happened ten to fifty years ago.  So what is this idiot talking about, OUR club!  It was never our club.  The men who pour their hard-earned money into buying the club will ultimately make the decisions.  That is final and the fans must think what they like about it.  It's been that way since the late 1880s, when Thompson, Marr and Tyzack bought it.  And it will remain that way whether Roker Report like it or not.

We've had a hard couple of seasons, and I just think everyone is looking for a scapegoat right now.  And they're not too fussy where they find it.  I'm an Ellis Short fan, and I will remain so.
I totally agree with you cutey and you've got the message across in much more eloquent terms than I could have managed.
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Post  Guest on 2013-10-21, 2:03 pm

Thanks, Les.  That article was the worst I've seen from RR, and it just made me boil a bit.  'Di Fanti is only there through family friendship, supposedly for his connexions, none of which have been used.' - Tripe.  Roberge from Portugal, Ba from France, Diakite from Italy, and Cabral from Switzerland, all on free transfers  - that sounds like the net was spread far enough to me.  And Karlsson from Gothenberg, Sweden, for £1.5m spread it even further.  Late on, we got a Greek international - Mavrias, in as well.  Giaccherini, who Juventus only sold because they had to balance the books, had probably never heard of Sunderland, but he'd heard of di Fanti, and here he is.

I think di Fanti and Angeloni have done a pretty good job at a very decent outlay.  But when di Canio is alienating players as much as he did, it doesn't matter who you sign.  I just think RR is lashing out at some people who haven't really deserved it.
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Post  cyprussyd on 2013-10-21, 2:06 pm

TBH I want us to stay up for many reasons and saying up yours to the knockers is near the top of the list Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

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Post  cyprussyd on 2013-10-21, 2:53 pm

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Post  Guest on 2013-10-21, 3:06 pm

There used to be a fanzine called 'It is the hope I cannot stand' and I reckon myself included have had so many hopes dashed for nigh on 50 years that a certain amount of us cannot take it anymore.

I hate losing and supporting even Sunderland I still have not got used to it. Then there is this our club point..Short owns and if anyone has been 'short' changed it has been him. Perhaps PDC etc did not help (but he was right to have a go at the players) and my finger of blame lies fairly and squarely with the team, on paper they are a reasonably mid-placed group of individuals...on the pitch they are a bunch of over-paid underperforming gutless prima donnas, not fit to pull the R&W shirt on. That 2nd half display at Swansea was pathetic, Swansea came out upped the pace and we collapsed (apart from Catts).

I am sure the manager will be trying all sorts of psychology, but how about they do not get paid until they win a game..lets see if the cut out the drinking, train harder and last 95 minutes if faced with the prospect of no money...that might be a good man management trick.
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