For what feels like an eternity, Sunderland fans have held onto the hope that the next transfer window might just be enough to turn our faltering club’s fortunes around.
Hindsight is 20/20 though, and looking back it seems clear now that fundamental changes in the club’s very DNA were required for a long time. There was no quick fix available, and ultimately we paid a very heavy price for our incompetence.
Then, this summer we were sold. After fans began to recognise that a root-and-branch overhaul of the club was desperately needed, it became obvious that a sale was the only option in order to revitalize a club that was sinking without trace. Sunderland AFC clearly needed fresh faces and fresh ideas - and now we have that.
However, whilst reading through comments on social media, it feels like perhaps as a collective fanbase we need to reassess the situation in which we currently reside. We’re not going to be throwing silly cash around in order to solve our problems, and we’re not going to sign household names ahead of a gallant charge back up the leagues.
We’re at the bottom of the curve right now, and while this is indeed an exciting time, we need a massive dose of realism as we move forward.
I’m not suggesting fans should remain silent and subdued as the club try to turn things around, but needless negativity serves no purpose.
Who genuinely knew anything about Alim Ozturk before we signed him? Who knows much about Jon McLaughlin, Chris Maguire, or Lyle Taylor? They could be fantastic for the club, or they might not set the world alight - we just have to wait and see.
Sunderland simply aren’t in a position to try and keep up with those desperate in their attempts to find a way to the Premier League.
Stewart Donald and his team have already spoke about adopting an approach that values self-sustainability above all else. The Dortmund model has been mentioned as a system we might look to for inspiration, and I can buy into that. Developing unheralded players into a team capable of fighting for success, whilst living within their means? Yes please.
Obviously, getting back to the top flight is what we all want, but I don’t think we should risk our future stability in order to do so - this isn’t a hand we can go all in on.
Measured, sensible growth is what we need, and that means trusting the decisions made by our new management team.
There are a host of names linked with the club right now. Some would be popular signings, and others we don’t know much about, but we need to give every player the chance to prove their worth. We need to allow every player that dons the red and white stripes we hold so sacred the opportunity to become a legend. Writing players off before they’ve even kicked a ball in anger is beyond foolish, and reeks of arrogance.
It’s about time we realised the position we’re in. This blank canvas gives us the perfect opportunity to build something meaningful and lasting, to rush this project would be to ruin our chances of lasting success. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Sunderland’s rise to the top table of English football won’t be instantaneous - as a fanbase we need to realize this, and simply enjoy the ride. We need to place our faith in Stewart Donald, Jack Ross and everyone else working behind the scenes to find success.
So yes, perhaps the players we sign might feel somewhat underwhelming, and yes, they might not cost a small fortune. However, if Jack Ross thinks he can forge a winning side out of those brought into the club - I’m totally behind him.
We need to trust the process and provide the support required in order to give our new Lads the best chance of success. It’s about placing faith in this new regime rather than finding the faith required to keep going - onward and upward!