As Sunderland close in on the signings of Grant Leadbitter and Will Grigg, it has been surprising to see pockets of our fanbase raise their eyebrows at these potential acquisitions with the suggestion that they won’t be good enough should we make the step up into the Championship.
The fact of the matter is that our club finds itself firmly rooted in League One.
In the boardroom we have new ownership that has managed to control the previously unmitigated financial hemorrhaging that plagued our club, and on the pitch we have a new management team and a largely new playing squad that have gelled well enough to challenge for promotion.
To be fair, both facets of the club’s management have done a decent job thus far.
Of course, in an ideal world we would be cruising the league with a host of talent we were certain would then be able to make the step up to the Championship where they could fight for promotion to the Premier League - yet things just aren’t that simple.
As a fanbase we need to deal with the immediate situation in which we find ourselves - we need of players capable of securing our immediate return to the Championship.
Can players like Will Grigg and Grant Leadbitter help us achieve that ambition?
Simply put: yes, they can.
Losing players like Josh Maja are a blow to our hopes of promotion - and that is something acknowledged by all. Ultimately, though, the club was put into a situation whereby the player stated he no longer wished to play for us, and instead of losing him for next to nothing this summer, Sunderland’s ownership leveraged his value to reduce a chunk of debt that would be payable this coming summer - essentially we’ve freed up cash to finance this summer’s transfer dealings.
But right now, as a club and as a fanbase, we need to assess our current situation and take a realistic course of action in order to secure our short-term future.
Players like Leadbitter and Grigg are the kind of players we need right now - players capable of bringing us success at League One level.
@LutonTown rise to of #SkyBetLeagueOne— Sky Bet League One (@SkyBetLeagueOne) January 26, 2019
@BarnsleyFC up to 3️⃣rd pic.twitter.com/ZBLeVT1NN7
It feels as though there’s this bizarre sense of privilege loitering within our ranks right now, when in reality we need a stern dose of realism.
Sunderland AFC is an ambitious club with clear financial restraints. Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven aren’t loaded with billions of pounds of disposable cash, unfortunately, and as such our once high-flying club finds itself battling for promotion from League One.
We can’t afford to throw silly money around this window and we won’t be bringing in world-class talent. But, just like our approach to finding long-term success, we will be bringing in the personnel capable of lifting us to the next level of our resurgence.
The likes of Grant Leadbitter and Will Grigg are those kinds of players - they are safe bets that will bring realistic success, and that is something we should embrace with open arms.
We’re no longer sitting at the top table, and it’s time we begin to understand that we’re not inherently superior to other clubs. Now is the time to back the players Jack Ross and co. believe can make the difference required to find this immediate sense of success - keep the faith!