Let me just preface this by saying I don't go to any games seeing as how I am Aussie and live on the other side of the world. I have only been supporting the club since Roy Keane was in charge but I love being able to have a team that I can support in the area my family is from.
Is it just me or is the thing Sunderland might be missing is a bit of consistency from season to season? Each season brings with it a new raft of players, a new manager and a new playing style. How are we supposed to build any sort of team culture and consistency when none of the players have been at the club longer than five seasons?
I know that it is a results driven business and I get that being in the premier league is financially so important now. However I don't have any sort of affinity with anyone playing for the club like I do for other sporting codes. I think that mostly it comes down to loyalty, there doesn't seem to be any players that want to buy into Sunderland emotionally, no-one lives and breathes Sunderland like the fans do.
I think the remedy to this is quite simple, pick a group of players/staff that you want to take your club into the future and stick with them through thick and thin. Good players don't lose their talents, they just might go through a dry spell or a lack of confidence so we need to help them through that rather than simply discarding someone for poor form. I think we have taken the right step forward with our managerial structure as far as trying to maintain a semblance of continuity but we need to take it further than that.
The AFL club the Sydney Swans have successfully implemented a disciplined and hard working culture in their players that was only put into place in the seasons under then coach Paul Roos (2002-2010) and now continues through to their current squad. There is nothing to say that as a club Sunderland can't institute a similar ethos amongst their team.