In May 2016 a sense of optimism and hope filled the stadium of light; with Premier League survival secured under Sam Allardyce. Sunderland fans were in wonderland with bitter rivals Newcastle being relegated and the ‘Black Cats’ securing survival for another season.
However, Sunderland fans have had very little to be cheerful about in recent months given the clubs recent run of results in the Championship, which has seen the once Premier League regulars find themselves in familiar territory … a relegation battle.
Losing Sam Allardyce was a massive blow for the club. Big Sam brought stability to the club and secured the clubs survival for another season. His performances at Sunderland didn’t go unnoticed with England wanting the managerial veteran to take over the hot seat after an abysmal Euro 2016 which seen England lose to Iceland. The appointment of David Moyes on paper looked like a great piece of business on Sunderland’s behalf, the club needed stability and Moyes had spent just over a decade at Everton transforming them into a consistent Premier League outfit. Which prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to handpick his fellow Scotsman to be the heir to his Manchester United empire.
Things didn’t go to plan for David Moyes at Sunderland with the club finishing rock bottom of the Premier League. One has to ask the question if it’s the Sunderland board, recruitment team or the players who are to blame for the clubs decline. Of course constant management changes haven’t helped the Black Cats, with new ideas and new players coming in and out it isn’t easy to find consistency. When a club does drop down to the Championship it is a monumental task to reach the promised land of Premier League riches, just ask Leeds United and Nottingham Forest fans.
The appointment of former Wales boss Chris Coleman came as a genuine shock to footballing fans. After guiding Wales to European semi-final, Coleman could have had his pick of clubs who would’ve been eager to secure the promising managers signature. So why Sunderland?, Chris Coleman does have the January transfer window to recruit players that he wants at the club. However, will Coleman really want to stay at Sunderland if the club are reduced to League One football next season? Only time will tell if the former Wales boss can pull of a miracle and transform the Black Cats into Premier League regulars again.
A change of mentality needs to occur at the club, long gone are the days of the stability seen under Martin O’Neil. In order to at least secure Championship survival this season, Coleman needs to start laying the foundations of what he envisions his Sunderland side as. The Sunderland squad needs a reshuffle and Chris Coleman seems to be doing that agreeing to let the once promising Jack Rodwell rip up his rumoured £70,000 a week contract with the club. One can only wonder what the future lays in store for the Black Cats, Coleman is a manager who can bring an exciting and stable future to the club. But so were David Moyes and Sam Allardyce. Sunderland have all the makings to be a Premier League regular with a good fan base and coach, It is now up to so called “individual players” to start working together as a team to secure Championship survival this season, something Simon Grayson was failing to do.