Inertia has crept into the club under Elis Short's watch. It's wrong to lay all the blame at his door, it absolutely is, but even he has to accept that this has become the one simple truth. Sunderland again collapsed to a heavy defeat this weekend and for the first time since Short took the reigns in 2009 supporters rounded on him in the stands.
Perhaps the perennial asset stripping of the club hasn't helped his cause. Out went Bent, Henderson, Mignolet, Sessegnon, Bardsley and Wickham. In essence any player with any saleable value has been sold. The squad has become patched up with loans and cheaper alternatives like a band-aid over a sore.
Out of those more longstanding squad members there appears to be a situation where they either refuse to leave us because other clubs aren't prepared to match their salary or there's just no significant interest in them. What does that tell you about the situation we find ourselves in?
Over the years there's been growing apathy and it's happened under our noses. So far we've been giving those at the top the benefit of the doubt. We've shown, at times, that we are as patient a group of supporters as you'll find. But now has to be the time for some honesty. Not just from within these so-called ‘crisis' meetings that the playing staff are reported to be having but more importantly from within the boardroom too. It simply hasn't worked out and we can only move on when we accept that painful fact.
Has the selling of valuable players been at the direction of Short? It's hard to say. Ultimately he controls the purse strings. Publically we appear to be at the mercy of Financial Fair Play like no other club around us. It's a complex matter and certainly not one I'm intending to dig into here - but some supporters don't believe it should affect us as much as is being reported in the press. Rumours are that we are close to our wage limit and that there is in fact money to spend if it weren't for those FFP restrictions.
If this were indeed the case perhaps it would be prudent to pay some contracts up, alleviate the wage bill somewhat and start spending on some quality, permanent signings. For example, it was always going to be a huge season for Giaccherini and his absence yet again from the match day squad felt all rather familiar. Should we just settle his contract if there are no other interested parties? He's certainly made noises that going back to Italy wouldn't be as financially lucrative, giving him little incentive to move on otherwise.
Another view on FFP is that should we be given a potential fine for breaking its governance it would surely pale into significance compared with the loss of the Premier League money. Some seem to have rolled that dice, Is it a gamble that we need to take too? I'll leave that for others to determine.
The issue here is it simply isn't just two games into the season. It is, more worryingly, a continuation of a calamitous period for our club. For those with long memories things have been worse before, of course they have. However that feels like little consolation at the moment when we're in the midst of it. Would it surprise anyone if Advocaat left following the conclusion of the transfer window if he feels a victim of reneged promises? Personally I wouldn't be too shocked if that were the case. Where do we go from here? I only wish I knew.