Well Lads and Lasses, here we are again fretting about our beloved club as those familiar feelings of disappointment and unease rear their ugly heads in anticipation of yet more woe.
It’s fair to say the transfer window has been a let down, and unless Bain and co. are able to strengthen Simon Grayson’s playing squad in a matter of hours today then we could be in for a really difficult season ahead.
What little optimism generated from positive results against Derby and Norwich seems to have trickled away as heavy defeats to Leeds and Barnsley, as well as a fortuitous draw away to Sheffield Wednesday, have left the club sitting in 19th position with 5 points after 5 games.
The jolt back to reality has left many fans anxious about the season that lies ahead - an issue that has been exacerbated by the club’s transfer dealings this summer.
Are you worried about the apparent lack of transfer activity at #SAFC?— Roker Report (@RokerReport) August 30, 2017
Leave us your thoughts below on how you're feeling about it all.
In the above poll we asked fellow fans if they were worried due to Sunderland’s rather underwhelming activity in the transfer market thus far. Over 90% of people said yes - and who can blame them?
When Martin Bain talked to the media in the wake of Jordan Pickford’s sale to Everton, fans could have been forgiven for thinking that Grayson had a reasonable amount of cash to spend:
We may not have the biggest transfer budget in the Championship but it won't be the smallest. We made a big sale recently in Jordan. Does that all go to the transfer kitty? Well, no. You take a drop in revenue of roughly 58 per cent TV money but we still have legacy payments on previous transfers so it all goes into the mix.
It's not, as some people have called it, a perilous situation, we have an owner who supports the club and TV money but we're going to have to juggle and at times it will be difficult.
He [Short] has owned the club, he has a commitment to the club, he funds it and many clubs would be envious of an owner like Ellis Short. Bear that in mind when there’s speculation about the ownership.
It’s interesting to note that as of this morning, Sunderland have spent a paltry sum of £1.26m, with only 6 other clubs spending less - including the side who just thrashed us by three goals.
Bain’s phrasing suggested that we would be competitive in terms of our transfer kitty, but in reality we look to be a million miles away from rubbing shoulders with our fellow Championship inmates.
The likes of Middlesbrough are splashing serious cash, £44.78m to be precise, and even financial basket case Hull have splashed almost £15m on new recruits, so why are we being left behind?
It’s not as if we’ve recouped nothing after relegation - 12 players have left the club since the beginning of the summer while only 7 have taken their places. And those departures have brought in around £30m in total this campaign.
Factor into the equation the fact that we have three years worth of parachute payments available, and you have to wonder where the money is going?
Even Grayson has hinted that money has been there to spend, yet somehow it’s failed to materialize:
It's a decent enough budget, but it's still way short of a lot of clubs who are in and around us at this moment in time. You only have to look at the players we've brought in so far that none have been significant signings where the rivals who have come down have spent a huge sum of money.
What I'm trying to do, between myself and the chief executive Martin Bain, is to try to get this club some sort of stability again, where we don't have to do it for millions of pounds, that you can do it on a lesser budget.
We are trying to bring some pride back in the football club because in the last few years it has been in a dark place and mismanaged on many fronts. We're trying to put smiles back on the faces of everyone and give this football club a fantastic opportunity to move forward again.
It feels like groundhog day once more as we yearn for the reinforcements needed to help the squad perform, yet deep down expect little to happen. Bain and Grayson suggested things would be tough, but few expected our situation to be this troubling.
Grayson’s right about the mismanagement, but this feels like something beyond tightening the belt. There’s something about this summer that feels a little insidious though, much like last season, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the issue lies.
I’ll admit that I was optimistic at the beginning of the season for a host of reasons, yet unless something major develops today Grayson’s prophecy about smiling faces and pride in our club could be a long while away.