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Big Sam, Not 'Bigger Than SAFC' Sam

Social media is rife with the rumours regarding Sam Allardyce's future, and the man who masterminded our escape from relegation last year is edging closer to becoming the new manager of England. That said, it's not the end of the world, is it?

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Steve Bruce was the last Sunderland manager to finish a full season at the helm, and that was quite literally five managers ago. Stability and Sunderland just do not go hand in hand.

As we await confirmation of the inevitable there seems to be an air of apathy about the whole situation – and quite rightly so. I wrote an article warning us of our pre-season optimism three weeks ago because I knew the minute the whistle blew on England’s Euro 2016 campaign, Sam Allardyce would have his eye on the one job that has eluded him throughout his career.

Now, it may seem like a slog supporting this great club sometimes - it may seem like a curse. That said, if there is one thing bigger and better than any man that has ever walked through the door to the manager's office, it is Sunderland Association Football Club. Amongst the self-pity and disdain for this situation, I have reminded myself of the various coaches and the dire situations that have come and gone at our club over the years, and yet we still stand.

I remember the day Kevin Phillips left - after scoring well over one hundred league goals for Sunderland, Phillips knew that his time here was over and opted to leave in order to continue his career in the Premier League, whilst Sunderland were relegated having only collected a meek nineteen points throughout the season.

I’m sure you remember. Not only did he leave, but we sold him for just £3.5m.

Since then, it seems like  we have been invariably cursed - every time it feels as though we've got it right, we seem to take a step back. Coming back up under Mick McCarthy, only to break our own lowest points tally. Feeling on top of the world with Roy Keane at the helm, only for him to leave under a cloud far sooner than any of us could have envisioned. Finishing tenth under Steve Bruce, only to see a fantastic side dismantled rather quickly by other clubs buying our better players. Finally securing the services of a top class manager in Martin O'Neill, only for his reign to falter abruptly. Di Canio, Poyet, Advocaat - the list goes on and on. I don't need to remind you just how much the emotions of supporting Sunderland can go from high to low almost instantly.

The Allardyce era has been a refreshing one, a one that seemed to indicate stability, a one that seemed to gel the fans with the team and manager. That era, sadly, is just about over.

Big Sam will leave the man that replaces him good foundations to build upon. The players have forged a connection with the fans. We may lose Sam, but we will still have players like Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kone, Jermain Defoe and Wahbi Khazri. There is something to work upon there.

We have been let down by the FA, the situation and by our own hope. We are in a sort of mini crisis, yet again. But lift your head up high, ladies and gentlemen, because amongst the depressing tweets, the feeling of "...oh shit..." and that "here we go again" mentality, we have to remember that whatever happens we'll come out swinging.

That is what some of us forget. Bring on the season - what will be, will be.

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