First relegated to the Championship in 2016/17 after 10 seasons in the Top flight, now sunk to League One in 2017/18. Despite bringing in former Welsh Manager Chris Coleman in November Sunderland, still couldn’t avoid the drop. So what went wrong in the North East, and what is next for the Black Cats?
This summer, plain and simple Sunderland’s recruitment was not good enough. When their North East rivals dropped down to the Championship Newcastle brought in 13 new signings including Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Mohammed Diame all players that had experience and added to Newcastle’s depth.
In comparison, Sunderland brought in 15 players but with the most notable being Aiden McGeady, Jake Clarke-Salter and Lewis Grabban who has since left Sunderland for Aston Villa. Most of Sunderland’s signings where loan deals of young, promising yet unproven talent. In truth, more Championship veterans with a combination of young players were needed to be signed, not primarily young players on loan.
When Chris Coleman joined Sunderland in November 2017 he was branded as the another Angel in the North joining struggling Sunderland after the back of a successful spell with Wales. But with lack of experience at Club level, it seemed a risk. A risk that hasn’t paid off.
The Black Cats 2-1 loss to Burton this Saturday confirms what Football fans across England have known for some time now. Sunderland are heading down to League 1 with two games to play, unable to bridge the six-point gap between them and the drop.
So what is next for Sunderland? Last Pre-season Sunderland lost 5-0 to Celtic in their match to mark the 20th Season of the Stadium of Light, which set a bad omen for the Campaign to come. This Pre-season Coleman has vowed to play teams with the same “hustle and bustle style of football” recreating the tough affairs a league One match can pose. But this Pre-season there is an emphasis on making the Black Cats purring once more ahead of next campaign.
But Coleman also confirmed that it won’t be too far removed from their training last summer stating that: “It will be similar to last year, that was similar to what I’ve always done to be honest.”
It is also all but confirmed that Coleman will stay at the North East Club in their venture down to League One, whether that is a good thing or bad thing for Sunderland fans is yet to be seen. But it is clear that the club needs streamlining from head to toe.
Better transfers are needed with the ageing legs of the likes of John O’Shea still in the Sunderland team! Sunderland need to have a good transfer window, Sunderland fans just want a team that tries. That actually cares. With ability of course but with Players that do the hard work and work for the team. The fans appeared to have given up on this current set of players this season with the attendances at the Stadium of Light depleting even further with each game played.
Sunderland need to improve and recognise that League One is no cakewalk, many a club have slipped down to League One and never returned to Top Flight Action. Coleman and co need to do well next season otherwise the days of Sunderland in the Top tiers of English Football will be all but a memory.