Letters, Friday, April 24, 2015

Have your say

Manage hopes of potential players

I WOULD like to point out what, in my opinion, are the pitfalls of young lads joining one of the football academies.

 Firstly, it is great to see young boys playing football in the local Russel Forster leagues, and I give every praise to the people who run these teams – they are the backbone of the game.

 But, if your son shows any talent, they may be approached by one of the academies, with the possibility of becoming a professional footballer at the end of their time at the academy.

 From the moment they sign for these academies, they say goodbye to their normal childhood. They think (for certain) they are now going to be a professional footballer at the end of their time at the academy. Because they are tied to these academies, and their rules, they can no longer play for their teams in the Russel Forster league or school teams.

 Make no bones about it, once your sons are signed by these academies, there is only one thing, they think, they will be when they leave school and that is a professional footballer. Consequently, their school work suffers to their detriment.

 The Football Association is so concerned with the lack of English players in our leagues, each professional league club must have an academy to encourage youngsters into the game.

 There are some 15 to 20 boys in each year, at these academies, aged eight to 18, roughly 200 boys at any one time at each of these academies. If we take Sunderland and Newcastle academies as an example, I can only think of Jordan Henderson, Jack Colback, Andy Carroll and Steven Taylor who have made it through to the Premier League in the last five years.

 That is four out of 400, not a very good success rate, and those lads who don’t make it are left with nothing at the end of it, especially if they have neglected their studies thinking they are certain to become footballers.

 There is also the commitment a parent has to give, over say a 10-year period by way of time and money, to run their sons about here and there, in all weathers.

 Don’t get me wrong, it would be great for your sons to be picked up by these academies and become premiership players, but with such a poor success rate – beware.

Dave Winter

A real quandary

AS I boarded the charabanc to Durham I espied my good chum, Ron, sitting on his lonesome and so I joined him for a bit convivial chat and general catch up.

 After a while the conversation turned to the old chestnut: Which is Sunderland’s oldest bar where you can still buy a drink?

 Well, after a moment’s thought, I proclaimed that the Biddick Inn dates back to 1601, whereupon he replied ‘as in Sunderland itself and not outlying districts’.

 I mentioned that The Clarendon has a claim to be Sunderland’s oldest pub, dating back to 1753, also, located at North Hylton, The Shipwrights has a history dating back some 350 years and so dates back to the 17th century.

 However, the information I have gleaned does not say whether it has sold ales all the time or that the building has been there since the 1650s. The conversation then moved onto a not entirely new topic which was: ‘What is the oldest Workingmen’s Club in Sunderland where you can still get a drink?’

 Now, I must admit that this one really has me stumped.

 I know that The Sunderland National reserve Club opened its doors in 1912 and I still have the proof in the house, but other clubs with a claim could be either Pallion Workingmen’s Club or perchance Grangetown Workingmen’s Club, however, when you look at the overall picture there aren’t that many CIU Clubs left in Sunderland and it could be that what was Sunderland’s oldest Workingmen’s Club has already been consigned to history.

 Perhaps someone could offer some light on these quandaries?

Alan ‘The Quill’ Vincent,


Forefront of fashion

ALONG with the headscarf and a pair of Scholls the tartan shopping trolley has been a grannies’ favourite for many years.

 Originally introduced in the 1950s and popular with women who attended bingo and the Pound Shop, the tartan trolley has always been a common site in our city.

 With its super grip handle and four wheels the tartan bag can hold a week’s supply of groceries.

 Personally, I think that these contraptions are an eyesore and a hindrance to pedestrians.

 I was nearly ran over by one in Fawcett Street once, and when I complained to the owner, I received many expletives in return.

 However, on a recent trip to London many younger women were using them all be it without the headscarf and Scholls.

 It could now transpire that the tartan trolley-pushing woman of Sunderland is at last at the forefront of modern fashion.

Mick,The Pen, Brown

Mill looks shocking

THEY can receive grants for the seafront roads and trees but Fulwell Mill looks shocking. 

 In my opinion its a beacon just like Penshaw Monument – it stands out.

 So why don’t local councilors, who represent the ward do something about it?

 Newcastle seems to restore its historical buildings so why can’t we?

K Stoker