Letters, Friday, March 4th, 2011

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Steve Bruce must motivate the players

THIS is a shortened version of a letter I have sent to Sunderland AFC chairman Niall Quinn:

I AM writing to you out of frustration after yet another poor performance at Everton. How many times has Steve Bruce said after a match: “We were very poor and didn’t compete” or “We didn’t match the other side in effort and didn’t turn up till the second half” or, as after the Everton game: “We were second best today and failed to respond in the second half”? For the umpteenth time, it’s not good enough.

I accept that we will lose games, but it is the manner in which we lose far too many games that concerns me. If the team give 100 per cent and lose, fine, but to regularly lose because were second best and players don’t compete or, in some cases, look like they don’t even want to be on the pitch, is a disgrace.

I know you must get frustrated seeing this. I remember last season when we were going through a real bad spell, with players not giving 100 per cent, and Ellis Short eyeballed them as they came out on the pitch, letting them know what he thought. It had the right effect because we played completely differently and won.

You rightly bemoan the fact that the stadium is not full and blame the pubs for showing live games at 3pm, but maybe you should be looking into the lack of effort in far too many games shown by the players as also being a big part in the drop in attendances.

I now come to the point of my letter. Steve Bruce has one main task as manager, for which he is paid handsomely, and that is to motivate the players and get them up for EVERY match. When they come out of the tunnel they should be ready to die for SAFC. His after-match comments and his after-match emails to the fans demonstrate quite clearly he fails to do this in far too many matches.

Some weeks we match the best and even outplay them, yet more often than not this is followed by a poor performance that lacks any real desire or effort. That is Steve Bruce’s problem and it’s about time he sorted it.

I am not suggesting he is sacked, because I do believe he has a lot of good qualities and sound football knowledge, but for him to succeed he must show passion and desire in every game and give this to the players.

I live in Kent and make the effort (680-mile round trip) with my five children (who are all Sunderland daft) to get to a lot of games. Surely it’s not too much to ask that the whole team makes the effort and never loses through lack of commitment.

I respect you greatly for the way you have committed to SAFC and know you want what we all do, SAFC to be a regular top six side, winning trophies. Nothing gets to the fans more and I’m sure to you than seeing flash cars, players on £30,000 to £50,000 per week acting like they are celebs but when it comes to pay-back for 90 minutes they fall well short in far too many games.

I have to tell you that there will be more empty seats unless this problem is resolved. You have given Steve Bruce the platform to take the club forward, but unless you can get him to assess the way he prepares the team for every game, then I’m afraid it will end in tears.

Sam Lucas

Save our club

RE the letter of February 28 about the River Wear Boating Club. I feel I have to back this letter. My family (all members) came into the MAC centre from the old WBA clubhouse, which was compulsorily purchased, but left with a resettlement from Tyne and Wear Development.

How sad the current situation is! We are not happy with the crazy rent rise we can’t afford.Having fought a recession, it’s a sad time for Roker and Sunderland. Aren’t we promoting the seafront? I wonder if the MAC trustees know the full story.

Over the last 15 years I only know of one trustee that has been in the WBA, club and training establishment. The club has produced numerous boating qualifications for the youth of Sunderland as well as a junior UK Champion.

Come on, people and council, please help us or 100 years of River Wear boating will end.

Gone fishing

Tougher fines

AS a regular reader of Court Roundup, I thought magistrates had at last found the right track for “no insurance” offenders, but no, they are back to their old ways – £100 if you are really unlucky.

There should be a mandatory minimum of £500 at least for this offence.

If you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford the car.

A. Pollitt, Fulwell

Stick to the facts

I AM in full support of Debbie Lorraine’s comment (Letters, February 26) regarding Labour scaremongering. For months now Labour, both locally and nationally, have tried to scare and deceive the public regarding government cutbacks.

Yes, it is true that significant savings have to be made (due largely to the legacy left by the Labour government) and yes, it is true that services will be affected and we will all feel the pinch.

However, I regard it as disgraceful that Labour politicians have deliberately set out to scare the elderly into thinking that they will have to give up their free bus pass, winter fuel allowance and free TV licence, just so they can score cheap political points.

Come on, let’s stick to the facts here: billions of pounds worth of debt is going to be extremely difficult to clear, but the Coalition Government is trying to protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly.

Tracy Young, Washington

A proud record

I READ two letters in the Echo headlined “Stop the negativity” and “Knowledge is vital”, the author of the latter hiding behind the assumed name of “Concerned resident”.

The letter “Stop the negativity” accuses us as Independent councillors of talking the area down. I would like to see some facts to back this up. We were elected on local issues, such as the Toxic landfill, that previous and present Labour councillors still choose to ignore. We were elected because of the neglect of the area.

Ask anyone here to explain the phrase “Sunderland stops at the Board Inn”. Ask them what the kids have to do instead of walking the streets. Where are the community centres? Ask them to show you the Kirklee Play Area complete with weeds taller than some of the children that were trying to play in there last summer.

Ask them what support they got from councillors before we had Independents. All of these things and more we as Independents are working on.

Ask the parents who saved their schools, all four of them and two not even in our ward. Ask who supported the school action groups – not Labour councillors. I can assure you that if we did not have the Independents four schools would have closed unnecessarily.

The same letter states that we have plenty to be proud of like new schools and the Houghton Primary Care Centre. I point out that I was on the Health and Wellbeing Committee and pushed for the Houghton Primary Care Centre and am pleased with the outcome. You may want to note no Labour councillors were present to represent your views at the important consultation at the Bethany Centre that was held to see what people wanted from the Health Centre. Your three Independents were there.

In the second letter the writer states that the Independents have a lot to answer for. I agree with the last statement. We have a lot to answer for – many years of Labour councillors not fighting for us. Even as I write they are supporting the loss of our identity as an area – they want Houghton to be called a village and to be absorbed in to the “greater Sunderland” with us all having Sunderland post codes.

The writer also states that we need councillors who actually know the hard challenges facing us locally. We do and the answer is simple – more Independents. Or do you want more councillors like the Copt Hill Labour councillor who has to come to community meetings organised and paid for by the Independents so they can see who he is, who says he supports keeping the schools open while travelling around Eppleton with the council looking for a site for the new super school that no one wants, and who opposes the Independents’ road safety schemes etc while having no ideas of his own?

No – I didn’t think so either.

Coun Derrick Smith, Houghton Independent

Working for town

I CERTAINLY can’t agree that our Independent councillors in the Houghton district are negative. They are all showing how much they care about Houghton by the work they do for us.

They are the only local councillors who have ever spoken up for those of us who have suffered years of living along side the horrendous hazard which is Houghton Landfill, which was dumped on us by Sunderland Council (where were the Houghton councillors then?), spoiling for ever a lovely part of Houghton.

How many of us spent long, happy days playing on Millers Hill with its beautiful views over miles of countryside or the ramblers whose route it was on? Who were the ones who allowed this to happen?

Coun Wakefield’s most recent letter to the Echo was about his concern about the cancellation/suspension of the central route or highway that would take away much of the traffic that now comes through Shiney Row, Philadelphia, Newbottle and Houghton, also Fence Houses and the growing Rainton Bridge Business Park.

He has also spoken up about the closure of Houghton Magistrates’ Court and police station and the building of a new one in Sunderland.

The Independent councillors are all working hard for the good of Houghton. Leaflets were mentioned by both Kay Dobson and “Concerned resident”. But it’s a long time since I saw any leaflets from them. Maybe it’s time they told us more about what is going on in a new leaflet.

Joyce Dixon, Newbottle

Be constructive

I AM writing in support of comments made by K. Dobson (“Stop negativity”, Letters, February 24).

I am a frequent visitor to Houghton, having moved to the North West a few years ago, and I love coming back to my home town.

Having seen some of their literature in the past, I hate the way these Independent councillors put the area down. They should be using their positions more constructively.

Every time I come to Houghton I see things to be proud of, the latest being the new Primary Care Centre and I always make sure me and my family are here for the Houghton Feast festivities, which are a credit to the council and local community groups.

Of course nowhere is perfect, but these councillors should stop putting our town down.

J. Hall, Whitehaven, Cumbria