Dear Roker Report,
On Sunday 6th May 2018 at approximately 2.15 PM I exited the Stadium Of Light having felt very satisfied, not just at the result, but also the home side’s performance (even though both have come too late to save us).
A bit of a rarity, for its not very often I’ve been able to say that when having attended Sunderland home games over the last few seasons - indeed, its my guess that few could have seen a draw, let alone a 3-0 winagainst the Championship’s top side!
“Saving the best till last” and “Sunday best” are just two ways of describing the win over Wolves as we ended what has been dreadful campaign on a high note, and at the same time possibly gave ourselves a bit of hope for the future as we exit the Championship for the backwaters of League 1.
OK, so maybe the Wolves players did appear to have their minds partly on what will surely be a well-deserved summer break, but lets take nothing away from a young-looking Sunderland side who displayed effort, passion, a will to win and a bit of pride - qualities which have been absent all too often during this and previous seasons.
The win in no way flattered us, and was easily “the one shining star” in another thoroughly depressing season, and was a footballing master class when compared to some of the fare we’ve been used to in recent times.
And it does in fact lead one to ask “what if” - what if the side had performed in the same manner for most part this season, even just for a third of the campaign?
What if we’d given youth more of a chance in the past?
Had this been the case, I’d say that we’d now be looking forward to another season of Championship football, instead of meetings with the likes of Accrington, Rochdale, Wycombe and such like.
Trust Sunderland AFC to go and surprise us all again when we least expected it.
I don’t know, maybe the side were trying to impress our new owner/potential candidates for the manager’s job, but if the win over Wolves was a sign of things to come in what is sure to be a testing time in League 1, then maybe the season 2018-19 can’t come round quickly enough.
In the meantime, its sure to be a busy close season on Wearside as we seek to rebuild, but if the result against Wolves was a TRUE statement of intent - and if our youngsters are given more of a chance as part of the hoped-for/much-needed recovery - then maybe, just maybe, we could be about to turn the corner/get back on the right track.
It will be interesting to see, and who knows, perhaps our immediate future may not be as bleak as some folk perhaps first believed, for 6th May 2018 may well have seen a rather promising start to a new era at Sunderland AFC.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: An interesting summary of current events as always, Andrew! I agree, it was nice to come away from the Stadium feeling positive for a change and the young players flourished in front of a crowd that has been eager for some fresh impetus.
I’d say though that despite the encouraging performances, we still need to be realistic about League One and the fact we MUST return at the first time of asking. Whilst it’s great we can incorporate them into our squad, we need to recruit players with quality and experience that will get us out of this league immediately, that cannot be stressed enough.