Gus To Stay - But The Sunderland Cycle Must Be Broken

Paul Thomas

Poyet has pledged his future to Sunderland, but the message is all very familiar.

Gus Poyet expects to be at Sunderland next season despite rumours linking him with a move away, but he insists that Sunderland must start moving forward.

The Uruguayan was quick to commit his future to the club following the final game of a roller-coaster season before laying down the gauntlet to owner Ellis Short to raise the bar next season. He told reporters:

I want to see the chairman to see if we can avoid making the same mistakes we made over the last few years - we brought 14 players last season, we have 11 out of contract, we have others going back to their parent club, so there's much to do.

We will talk about what the next challenge is.

Some clubs start the season looking to finish between 12th and 17th. What do we want?

Normally, you ask what the chairman wants and then you go with the challenge.

We are over 40,000 people here every week. And if you give them a little bit more - it is packed out - so I consider this a big club.

He is right, of course. There is no reason in the world why this club can't be a staple in the top half. Newcastle United, Southampton and Stoke City finished in the top half this season, and they are hardly powerhouses.

I don't necessarily think that a lack of ambition is an accusation that can be laid at the feet of Short, though. There is clearly a concious effort being made to bring the club's finances into order at the moment, but it can be argued - fairly - that is a prerequisite for long-term success.

But, for one reason or another, it's tough to get excited about Poyet's words here.

I think it is just that we have heard similar sentiments before. In fact, we hear them just about every single summer without fail.

We get all excited and optimistic over the summer, as is the right of any set of fans, invariably get ourselves into a bit of a pickle towards the bottom of the table, rally late to secure survival, promise everything will change and stuff will get better (usually with a new-ish manager) - then we do the entire thing all over again.

It's just some kind of cruel and soul-sapping cycle that Sunderland have somehow locked themselves into over the last few years.

It has to change, and we certainly don't need Poyet to tell us that, but a 'believe it when I see it' attitude has almost become a defence mechanism now. Call it healthy cynicism or whatever you want, but I can't help but feel that predictions will be on the conservative side this time around.

Then, hopefully, if we end up with egg on our faces yet again, at least it will taste far better.

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