Just how far are Sunderland going to drop. You have to feel sorry for the supporters of this once great football team but the team are in turmoil.
After relegation last season from the Premier League, Sunderland fans were hoping for a quick return back to the big time. However the Championship is an extremely tough division to succeed in, with so many good teams throughout. There are not many teams that bounce straight back up after finishing bottom of the Premier League, in fact only 1 in 3 actually manage this feat, so the odds were against the Black Cats.
But for Sunderland, the last thing they would have been expecting, would be on the verge of a second successive relegation, with League One football beckoning.
Even with the appointment of ex Wales boss Chris Coleman, the club have failed to spark into life. Coleman must have seen something about the club before he signed, a manager who had just taken Wales to a European Championship semi final, who had the world at his oyster. Coleman certainly looked confident in his abilities to keep the club up on his arrival, but what must he be thinking now.
But where has it all gone wrong for the north-east club. Owner Ellis Short has come under fire from the fans and rightly so. Short doesn’t have any interest in the club and has been looking to sell for as little as £50m, but with relegation looming, trying to find a buyer with the club potentially to be starting in league one next season looks unlikely.
The club debts were the 13th worst in Europe in 2016, which is staggering, but shows the trouble the club are in not just on the pitch but also behind the scenes. The debts had been increasing due to some extremely poor transfer dealings and the constant changing of managers over the last few years.
When David Moyes replaced Sam Allardyce in 2016, Moyes spent £27m on five players, none you could say were successful as the club were relegated from the premier league. Sunderland have managed to move on one or two players and start reducing their debt, but some are on astronomical wages that buying clubs simply won’t entertain their wages, leaving the Black Cats limited options of keeping the player or cancelling their contracts. Jack Roswell is a perfect example of the crazy wages at Sunderland, as he sits at the club earning £70,000 a week and is still unwilling to cancel his contract.
With so much turmoil within the club it’s not surprising that the team have failed on the pitch. But with limited funds to bring in any real quality they have struggled to adapt to life in the Championship and currently lie second from bottom, 6 points from safety with just four games remaining. The future looks bleak.
Rebuilding for the future
Coleman has vowed to continue as manager regardless of division and rebuild the squad with youth. It’s certainly something he liked to do as the Welsh manager, especially in the latter part of his spell with the national side. It will defiantly be all change this summer at the Stadium of Light, although just how much Coleman has to spend remains to be seen. Sunderland need a cash injection or face further turmoil next season. Who would bet against a further relegation. Portsmouth fans can vouch for this nightmare scenario.
You have to hope that Sunderland get the break they deserve and find a buyer. This is a club with a fantastic fan base and a club with a huge stature within the game. Surely someone will see the potential that the Black Cats have to offer and takes this club out of the hands of Ellis Short and into the hands of someone who will love this club and put them back on the map of English football. The Sunderland faithful will finally be able to dream again.