Whether the referendum decision leaves you delirious or down in the doldrums, there is this overarching sense of intrigue as to just what will happen next. This fundamental shift in the world of British politics has everyone on a knife edge, and in some ways our club sits in a very similar predicament.
When you look back with hindsight at the changes that were made post Steve Bruce and Martin O’Neill’s poor reigns, it’s not hard to see that disaster merely lay in wait. While Bruce and O’Neill were by no means successful in their tenures, the backroom introductions after their exit signalled a shift in attitude. Margaret Byrne’s infamous appointment as club chief executive and the creation of the ill-fated role of Director of Football were both serious flaws in Ellis Short’s vision for the club. Both roles drained the club’s resources whilst offering nothing productive in exchange.
Grumbling after grumbling arose until after three escapes under three different managers, the powers that be decided that the emerging cacophony was unbearable and the time for change was now. In came Sam Allardyce as manager rather than head coach, in charge of comings and goings, nobody to bicker with over potential transfers and negotiations. Soon after Byrne was gone, recently replaced by the more experienced, yet somewhat mysterious, Martin Bain.
The question that remains, however, is whether or not Big Sam now guarantees some level of success, a break from the continuous cycle of relegation battle after relegation battle? It’s a question I’ve been pondering for a while now, and unfortunately, much like the effects of the Brexit, there’s still no clear cut answer. Sunderland’s annual flirt with the Prexit is still a contentious issue.
Year after year I’ve sat in this exact same position hoping beyond hope that things have finally calmed down, that normality and mid-table obscurity will bless the Mackem faithful. Yet for the last several years normality has skirted our club and turmoil has reigned supreme. Einstein once said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I thought Poyet could do it, then I hoped Advocaat could continue his impressive foray and now I sit here pleading with the forces that be to let Allardyce be successful, I can’t handle another year of Prexit debate.
During the Brexit debate and over the course of discussions on Sunderland’s future I’ve had a plethora of people on my Facebook stream who at some point in the last six months completed a Masters and PhD in politics, economics and anthropology. I’ve seen either side of the divide deride one another for their opinions whilst offering their own concrete conclusions on just what exactly will happen. Unfortunately though, none of us own a crystal ball and none of us can, with total certainty, predict just what will happen.
And so, I sit again pondering the fate that this season has in store for my beloved club. Again social media tells me that we’re going to be fine, that this is the dawn of something new and exciting, but I’m afraid that the recent past has changed me. I sit here now a demi-cynic, unable to fully buy into the claims of a definitive change for the better whilst the feeling of anticipation that simmers in my stomach. A better future? One can hope.