The last few years haven’t exactly been the easiest as a fan of Sunderland with the team on the pitch struggling extensively with each passing season. This current trend doesn’t seem to be just occurring on the pitch however, as certain players are hellbent on dragging this once respected club down and through the dirt.
Gone are the days of Quinn and Phillips, where it was clear everyone was pushing in the same direction. Even the days of Bent and Gyan where we knew there’d be goals seem lost in the past. It’s about time the club got its identity back!
Whether it’s covering up a scandal or players clearly having no respect for the club that pays their wages, it simply isn’t good enough and needs to change before we travel past the point of no return. While it’s all well and good saying something needs to change, understanding how we want this club to be viewed is of utmost importance.
In truth, we’ve turned into an absolute joke of not only a club, but a business too. Rumours of being up for sale for free doesn’t exactly pour glory over it. There is very much a danger of losing the faintly beating heart of the fan base if something doesn’t change soon.
Clubs like Swansea, Bournemouth and Southampton have worked their way up the footballing pyramid by adopting a clear culture during their respective rises. None of these clubs showed arrogance in their progress, keeping their heads down and working hard to be a success unlike our lot who seem to think they’re still good enough to play at the elite level without proving themselves.
Whether it be the clear philosophy of Swansea; the genuine hard work of Bournemouth; or the academy graduates Southampton often utilise, Sunderland need something to be known by, something for the fans to grab onto in these desperate times.
I think our first job is to clear up our image by ridding the club of the soulless demons destroying Sunderland from the inside. A new start with a mostly new squad would be brilliant for the beginning of next season - but that might just be too much to ask for.
Along with the current playing squad, I think it’s now fair to say the owner needs to hand over the reigns to someone slightly more ambitious to make this club what it once was; a club we were proud to support.
Moving forward, we need to instil a no-nonsense culture with severe punishments for those failing to adhere to club rules, but that’s the bare minimum of any profession and shouldn’t be too difficult to implement.
In terms of the players, it’s pretty much nailed on that we’ll be relying on youth for the next season or so at least, so let’s get behind them. Industrious players like George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch should be the first names on the team sheet. Lads we can get behind. I’m sure we’d all appreciate incapable players who worked hard rather than incapable players who couldn’t give a toss, right?
While this wouldn’t be a swift process, it is one that is very much needed. Hopefully Chris Coleman is the right man to take us through this transition, as long as his patience doesn’t wear thin, and even if it did, who could blame him? Our turnover of managers has been nothing short of pitiful in the last few years but with the charismatic Welshman, I feel like we’ve hit the jackpot, especially if he stays.
Ultimately, all us fans want is a team that we can be proud of again, a team who gives their all for the club we all love, and to not have the constant disappointment of our ‘star players’ appearing in the most horrific news stories every two days.