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Wise Men Say: How Did Sunderland Get Here And What Next?

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How on earth did we manage that? What do we do now? Praise this lot and fall back into the trap? Or just give credit where it's due? Let's have a bit craic.

Paul Thomas

Thank god all that's over with, eh? Never can I remember such an exhausting and mentally draining season. I had a relegation inquest half prepared in my head, too.

A summer of discontent, 2011 under Steve Bruce, has always been the root cause of our current problems in my mind. Granted, Martin O'Neill and Paolo Di Canio both failed to rectify it sufficiently and the latter's joint transfer dealings with De Fanti are questionable to say the least; indeed it could be argued that they were worse! The irony is that Bruce had originally sorted Keane's mess out with a splendid first transfer window himself. But, in my eyes, the Hull boss can't get off with building a straw house just because he built the original brick one that he then helped knock down.

Apologies for the rubbish analogy, I've just read the Three Little Pigs to my daughter. Anyone? No?

Moving on (hooray I hear you say), just how far is it relevant to go back?

Because, despite staying up, there is plenty worth debating. Are we contradicting ourselves to suggest that exiting the top flight would do us good one minute, only to then be ecstatic when we avoid that scenario soon after?

Are we hypocrites for slagging off certain players from Bruce's Sunderland for being spineless, only to then declare they should be given new contracts? Did the final day defeat to Swansea peel off some of that paper over those cracks, or are the players better than most think? Did they merely suffer a little blip after the cup final? They were sitting midtable of a league table we drafted up specifically since Gus arrived before that blip, after all.

Questions, questions and more questions. Helping me answer them on this week's pod will be two of our very own writers, Craig Clark and Chris Weatherspoon. We'll also have Pete Sixsmith from over at Salut Sunderland.

Do join us. Find us on iTunes or come back here from tomorrow and stream it directly.