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Sunderland’s ‘Will To Survive’ Needs To Become Their Upward Momentum

It might seem like stating the obvious, but isn't it about time we got it right for once?

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

A month or so ago I wrote a piece regarding the escape artist mentality Sunderland seems to have developed over the course of the last few years – and following the most recent scramble to safety I stand by that. But surely we’ve had enough of great escapes now; it’s time to become something more, something greater.

It took me a while to even remember when the first installment of the great escape saga began, but they’ve been back to back since Di Canio salvaged Sunderland in an emphatically erratic fashion, only to be repeated the following year under Poyet – then with Advocaat… now with Allardyce…

The point I’m trying to make here is that each manager to burst through the red-and-white revolving door is the same as the last hitherto: a prophetic saviour with a flawed philosophy confined to a short-term plan. We end each season on the dramatics of having fought off the drop once again, allowing the romanticism to pave over the cracks.

What we really need to do is take the raw passion that has so often willed us to survive and turn it toward a new goal. What this new goal is, isn’t objective – it’s just anything higher than 17th and/or 38 points.

The missing element is quite clearly stability, there needs to be a style of play implemented that gives Sunderland a sense of identity across more than just half a season, and Allardyce needs to lie at the heart of that. It’s something we haven’t had in a long, long while.

But now more so than ever, there’s reason to believe this could well happen. Of any of the past managerial candidates that have tried – and ultimately failed – to achieve any form of consistency, Big Sam seems the most likely to succeed.

Allardyce isn’t known for bizarre radicalism, nor has he ever signed Liam Bridcutt, and – although this could just be my imagination – he looks like he actually wants to be here.

Not to name any names, of course.

Essentially, if Allardyce can continue to unearth gems such as Kirchhoff, and keep Sunderland playing the above-average football we saw toward the end of this season, then all we need to do is channel the desire which drove us from relegation into higher ambitions and the results will speak for themselves.

Time to abandon the drama of survival we associate with our club and become something greater. We won’t get a better lifeline than this.