A week has gone by since I last sat down to write this column and so much has happened, and yet nothing has changed.
That’s not as counter-intuitive as it sounds. Clearly a lot is going on behind the scenes. Contracts are being hammered out on incomings and outgoings. Fans have responded to the new regime by snapping up season tickets, making the number tip past the 20,000-mark only three weeks after the takeover was finalised.
Charlie Methven collects his winnings after the ticket office manager claimed season card sales wouldn’t eclipse 19,000... pic.twitter.com/azC4iAexoS— Sunderland AFC ⚪ (@SunderlandAFC) June 8, 2018
There is an air of optimism around the place for the first time in a decade. It really feels like things are starting to move at a pace.
Who’d have thought that we’d be looking at the release of the fixtures on 21st June with renewed optimism after the time we’ve had of late?
The recruitment of our former goalkeeper, Tony Coton, is an odd one for me. His experience doesn’t seem that remarkable - though Jack Ross seems to rate him - which is all that counts. Still an unexpected first appointment, in my opinion. It was an underwhelming choice in 1996 and is again 22 years later!
But, as with all things Sunderland, I will be happy to be proved wrong. I was ecstatic at the signing of Jack Rodwell, and look how ill-judged that excitement went on to be.
This is usually the time where fans are twiddling their thumbs, waiting for elusive news of the club, but not this summer. The new regime have been very engaged with the fans. The old system of tabloid newspapers making up stories to unsettle players has gone out of the window, as each falsehood and economy with the truth is quickly seized upon by the new chair.
Fans almost have a one-to-one dialogue with Stewart Donald over Twitter, which is so refreshing it’s almost bamboozling. It’s not what we expect at all. The lads on the Roker Rapport podcast last week were opining that it’s the non-league mentality of access to the upper echelons of the club, which Mr Donald seems to be extending to Sunderland.
Whether that is a viable policy going further forward, we will have to wait and see. But I like the idea. And it certainly quells gossip and mischievous newspaper stories. It’s always nice to see those honourable employees of the Sun with egg on their faces.