I travel from Sunderland to London (and back) every week. Last week I had to go via Newcastle, where I was due to change trains. Due to mismanagement of the local service it had to be connected to additional carriages before passengers were allowed to leave. I had to watch my mainline train leave the station without me and I was almost an hour late into Kings Cross.
It's not a bad analogy for what is happening at Sunderland Football Club. After years of unfortunate management decisions we find ourselves on a ‘train’ with too few decent players, and we look likely to miss the Premier League gravy train that is set to leave without us.
So I ask the question – would it really be all that bad if it happened?
Does that sounds like heresy? It certainly goes against popular belief, but let's take a step back and consider the implications.
Short term financial impact
We are set to lose some of the overpaid make-weights like Fletcher and Graham and we get a handsome parachute payment from the league. Many players on longer contracts will have wage cuts imposed upon them should we be relegated. The financial fair play rules will become less of an issue, and players wages are generally lower in the Championship.
We will have a unique opportunity - or at least the best one for a decade - to overhaul the playing staff. Overpaid players will have to take a wage cut and roll up their sleeves to get stuck in or leave. I for one won't worry too much if the majority of the current first team do depart, and we will find out which of them are committed to the club.
It will also provide a far better opportunity to blood our all-conquering under twenty-one players in the first team. We have seen with Watmore that the step from U21s to Premier League is a big one, but the lad has class and the lower standard of championship defending will give him the space to develop into the player we all believe he can be.
So, we miss out on the Premier League cash bonanza – or do we? Next season the new deal kicks in but payment to the clubs is annual - they don't pay out all of the money all at once. I believe it is around eighty-one million quid per season, so if you get promoted back into the premier league you still get your cut.
Long term future
It is more medium-term than long-term, but if we get relegated – and as long as we keep the manager - I believe we could become a far stronger club both in playing and financial terms with a more sustainable commercial position that will allow us to invest in the right players in future.
As for me, well I am under threat of redundancy after a lot of years at the same company, so it is an uncertain time in my life.
I missed my train and the consequence was that instead of my usual practice of internet surfing I met a fairly inspirational man. He was made redundant after many years with a local engineering company, and he chose to go self-employed. He now has more money, and more time with his family.
I am now planning for my future with a little more hope - if I should lose my well paid ‘Premier League’ status, I have a plan to reinvest in my future with my parachute payment.
Sunderland should do the same, without fear and with pride and passion and belief in a better future.
Don't forget, you can sign up and write your own Fanpost here - http://rokerreport.sbnation.com/fanposts