It’s been over two weeks since David Moyes offered his resignation and not much has happened since. You would hope that behind the scenes all systems are go, but with the club’s almost comedic history of mismanagement and miscalculations it’s difficult to envisage a particularly efficient search for a new manager taking place.
That being said, perhaps the lethargic search is symptomatic of wider issues currently affecting the club. The Championship’s overall finances paint a rather bleak picture, and with but one team posting a financial profit last year you can’t help but feel that this relegation marks a new chapter in the club’s history - one which we won’t be able to spend our way out of.
Sunderland’s financial quandary is widely reported, and our latest figures make for yet more worrying reading. In all honesty it’s pretty simple: the club seemingly have little to spend, and are owned by a chairman who seems detached and unwilling to plough yet more money into a ship that has finally sunk.
Therefore, perhaps it makes sense that the club have been seemingly sluggish in their pursuit of a new manager. Is there money there to prize our top targets away from their current employers? Even if there is: would they really want to come to a club in such a mess?
Names such as McInnes, Grayson and Pearson are touted as firm contenders for the job, but each day brings yet more confusion and an appointment doesn’t seem imminent. Some might argue the club are taking their time in an effort to find the right man, yet pre-season starts in less than three weeks and we’re asking someone to totally overhaul our club ahead of a gruelling campaign with limited funds.
The club’s prime target, Derek McInnes, is allegedly hesitant to take the job without assurances about financial backing - and who can blame him? Several past managers have hinted at false promises coming from Ellis Short in relation to financial backing, and why would that change for the better after relegation?
Therefore the question needs to be asked: do we as fans perhaps need to alter our own expectations, or should we demand better?
This season at least - and perhaps for the foreseeable future - the club will work on limited budgets in terms of funds available for transfers and wages. Perhaps we need to be more relaxed in terms of our expectations? Will someone be able to come in and turn re-float this shipwreck? Possibly. However, if they don’t then we shouldn’t really be all too surprised. This won’t be a quick-fix, but rather something of a new build, and that will take time.
The issue that many fans have however, is that there seems to be little urgency in the club’s search for a new gaffer. Reports this past weekend suggested part of the issue was down to Martin Bain taking some time away from the hunt to go away on holiday, and this, if true, is a recurring issue that the club have seemingly failed to rectify. Where is the passion, urgency and determination to succeed? Same old Sunderland it would seem.
The fact that the McInnes deal has allegedly stalled due to Aberdeen’s insistence for £1 million in compensation is laughable. Are we so broke that we can’t afford to hire our top managerial target due to a £1 million sum? In footballing terms that’s peanuts, and if this allegation is true, then we can expect an incredibly difficult summer ahead.
And thus we find ourselves in an eerily familiar position: while the club’s hierarchy do their best to make a mess of things, we sit idly by hoping for the best, yet deep down expecting the worst.
Many of us understand this season won’t be easy, and that finances will be a major stumbling block. We understand that players will be sold in an attempt at reducing the debts and raising some transfer funds.
However, what many fans struggle to cope with is the seemingly nonchalant attitude the men and women in charge of this club have taken in recent years as they look to rectify the issues that have plagued our club - ultimately leading to our Premier League demise.
The apparent indifference and lack of ambition is a difficult pill to swallow for even the most ardent of fans. We have three weeks until pre-season begins, and either way this summer will be a challenging task for whoever takes the reins. Sunderland need direction and they need clarity - right now we’re sorely lacking in both departments.