After a weekend drubbing followed by some drunken grumbling, Sunderland have entered into their final week of training before the season proper. Many had hoped that a positive result against Celtic would have been the perfect preparation ahead of this coming Friday’s opening game - yet the five goal pasting at the hands of the Scottish champions was anything but beneficial.
In the wake of the disappointing result which signaled the end of our pre-season preparations, we decided to ask our readers how confident they were heading into the new campaign; the results made for interesting reading.
How confident are you feeling ahead of Friday's opening game against Derby? Let us know your reasons in the comments section below. #safc— Roker Report (@RokerReport) July 31, 2017
The numbers speak for themselves with well over 50% of the 1,529 voters suggesting that they weren’t optimistic ahead of this Friday’s opening game, and a further 34% of those polled noting that they simply don’t know how they feel as the Derby match approaches.
The fact that a mere 8% stated that they were confident ahead of the coming campaign is perhaps the most telling of the numbers gathered. Maybe that’s merely reaction from a rotten few days on Wearside, but ultimately it shows that pre-season hasn’t quite been as positive and cathartic as we hoped it would be.
After another tricky start to the summer, the appointment of Simon Grayson certainly perked up large numbers within the fanbase, and I for one am of the belief that he is indeed the right candidate to help rebuild this ailing club. He has history doing it with club’s in similar positions to our own, and he seems to be bringing in players keen to rekindle their careers. There’s been signs of a positive change, but there’s still much to be done.
While looking through the comments though, it was interesting to see people’s opinions on the issue. Some fans disagree with that notion that the club have actually made any progress:
Nothing has changed from last year to make me think we are any better, on and off the pitch. Another awful summer— Matthew (@MJacko1989) July 31, 2017
Some suggest that the club’s current predicament goes far beyond Simon Grayson’s decisions:
I'm not a bedwetter, but unfortunately there's far more reason to be pessimistic ahead of this season. Clubs a mess from top to bottom.— Dan (@dan429366) July 31, 2017
Others suggest that little can be done to remedy the club’s recent failures, and recent events demonstrate that:
We were in desperate need of the unity that was always the foundation the club in the past. Recent events show we are still far from unified— Adam Curry (@adamc80) July 31, 2017
Ultimately, it’s clear to see that the fanbase remains skeptical ahead of the coming season, and who can blame us after years of misfortune?
Simon Grayson will be given time, and so will his players due to the fans’ low expectations ahead of the coming season. But it goes without saying that deep down fans will be desperate for the club to start the season well - even if they don’t think it’s going to be a reality.
Last weekend’s game highlighted several issues still plaguing the club - primarily the disconnect that clearly exists between club and fans. A good start to the season would go some way to helping being to repair broken bridges, and begin to reinvigorate the downtrodden fans.
Should we feel optimistic ahead of the season? Not necessarily, but ultimately it’s down to Grayson, his players, and the club to rekindle our passions. Hopefully they can do just that.