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Writer Predictions 2020/21 (Part 3): Will Sunderland have new owners by the end of the season?!

Who will be promoted from League One? Will Sunderland have new owners before the season is out? And, what will be the stand out moment in the world of football during the season ahead? Join our Roker Report writers in the third and final part of their 2020/21 season predictions!

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Who will be promoted from League One?

Phil West says...

For me, the three teams that will be promoted are Hull (with their squad, it would be a miracle if they weren’t promoted, possibly as champions), Ipswich, if Paul Lambert can recapture some of his Norwich managerial form, and through the play-offs, I’m backing Sunderland to finally exorcise the demons of 2019, 2004, and 1998, and finally put the infernal Wembley curse to rest once and for all.

Yes, I’m serious, and no, I’m not under the influence of anything illicit as I write this. I’m an eternal optimist/happy-clapper (delete as applicable) and I believe we could do it.

Martin Wanless says...

Who knows – it’s such a mental league any team could go on a good run of form and get up there. The complete opposite of the Premier League isn’t it? But, I’m going to play it rather predictably, Hull as Champions, us second, and Peterborough to come up through the playoffs.

Ian Bendelow says...

It will probably never be harder to predict than this season. Especially right now with the transfer window still open. Hull really should be promoted with the squad they have, there is no doubt about that. They will be the best barometer of how big the gap is between League One and the Championship.

Alongside them it’s a wild stab in the dark. A number of the big hitters from last year have lost key players, and although some, e.g. Peterborough with Clarke-Harris have replaced the outgoings, it will remain a question mark as to how good the replacements are until the action begins. So it’s the Posh who I think will bag the second automatic spot.

As for the play-offs? Oh man, I’ve been up and down the mountain on this one desperately trying to think of someone but Sunderland; really though in terms of recruitment and squad depth they do seem the best equipped.

I want to be clear, I do not want to say Sunderland. Pompey, Oxford and Fleetwood have lost too many key men and others such as Ipswich and Blackpool haven’t quite strengthened enough. Charlton and Wigan, well where do you start with them.

Does this mean I cannot ever write anything criticising us ever again?

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-off - Final - Wembley Stadium Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

Charlton, Fleetwood, Hull. *shudders*

Malcolm Dugdale says...

With my rose-tinted glasses on I’m calling Hull and Sunderland to get auto slots. I think Charlton, Ipswich, Peterborough and Wigan will take the playoff spots.

I’d pick Ipswich or Peterborough to go up via Wembley, but with the wild cards of salary cap, COVID-19 impact on last season and this pre-season, and the strangest transfer window I’ve ever seen, it really is a bit of a lottery for all.

Momentum is going to be one of the most critical differences between sides, and by God we are overdue some of that.

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-off Final
Will it be Sunderland’s turn to win at Wembley?!
Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Will Sunderland have new owners by the end of this season?

Phil West says...

This is a tricky question.

Surely, if we are in good form and looking set fair for a return to the Championship, the likelihood of us being sold increases.

Obviously, it would have to be to the right person/consortium (serious, credible bidders only, please), and Stewart Donald would have to lower his absurd asking price, but I will maintain my hope that an ownership change will materialise this season. The future of the club as a viable entity may well hinge on it.

Martin Wanless says...

Again, hope springs eternal… I certainly hope so. There’s no sense either way at present, though, and in all reality, it’s a terrible time to be selling a football club.

A redistribution of shares, with Juan Sartori increasing his percentage, seems the most likely option at present, although Michael Gray has gone very quiet on the matter, which could point to his group being in talks.

Ian Bendelow says...

No. Two reasons. Firstly, the asking price is ridiculous. There is no way on God’s green earth that Donald will manage to convince someone to pay that amount. Secondly, I get the sense there is the belief from the board that Parkinson really can get promotion.

Therefore giving Charlie one last throw of the dice to celebrate the land of milk and honey that is the Championship (ahem) by walking into the Roker Hotel shouting “loadsamoneyyyy!” at old ladies eating cream teas, just like that Harry Enfield character. He’d love that.

Mystery third option could be that new faces come on board to join the old and we have some rearranging of the deckchairs on the Titanic. Time will tell.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One
Juan Sartori
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

No, and I don’t want to talk about it because it’ll just make me angry.

Malcolm Dugdale says...

No, I don’t think we will have new owners this season.

Football is in a huge mess, why would anyone want to buy a business now which has a totally unpredictable revenue stream, and at a price which does not reflect that it’s a buyers market?

The states of some clubs, prospective owners have a glut of clubs who they can pluck from administration for a very affordable price. Why pay Donald £37m when you could buy 2-3 other league one clubs for that? You could probably do well next league up.

Yes we are a sleeping giant but if you watch nature, you will see that bears don’t smash bees nests for honey when there is no honey ready, as the stings aren’t worth it. League One football is about as far from producing honey as it will ever be.

Stewart Donald will hope we go up, he will be hoping for a vaccine like we all do to get bums on seats and money in the gates, and he will be selling for the same price this time next year unless we go up. If we do, add ten million to the price so he can retire and he will rip your arm off.

Sunderland Press Conference - Stadium of Light
Will a new name pose for a picture as Sunderland’s new owner this season?
Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

If the stand out moment in the football world this coming season isn’t Newcastle fans forgetting about the failed takeover, what will it be?

Phil West says...

The year is 2031 and Mike Ashley is but a fading memory on Tyneside and Jeff Bezos now owns and operates the club using his unique and supremely successful business methods.

The corrupt, biased Premier League has been replaced by a Newcastle-operated super-league, where the black and white nation is king. A 33-year-old Kylian Mbappe has just fired Newcastle to their third consecutive Champions League title.

It is then, and only then that I believe Newcastle fans will truly be at peace with the failed Saudi takeover of summer 2020. The unrest has a long, long way to run yet, and the petitions will be many, I am sure of that.

Martin Wanless says...

Will Grigg banging in his 30th of the season to seal promotion for us will do just fine by me. I don’t really care about anyone else!

Ian Bendelow says...

Newcastle to win the FA Cup.

Calm down I’m only joking, I think given the unpredictability of pretty much everything in football right now, I’ll say that all three sides promoted to the PL will stay up, with Villa, West Ham and Newcastle going down.

Not only that, but I think that one of the new boys will finish in the top 7. Pushed further on this, I would say that it’s gonna be Leeds who will do it, giving Marco Bielsa a chance to tour that upturned milk crate of his around the backwaters of Europe next July.

See you in the Champo 2021/22, Cartoon Army!

Leeds United v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet Championship
Marcelo Bielsa
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

They probably will never get over it, and not just because they didn’t sign Mbappe this summer.

Robbed of their billions of pounds worth of investment into the region, the lasting effects of the failed takeover will be felt for generations to come. As Newcastle descends into a Tory x Brexit dystopian landscape, the working men and women of the region will continue to scream from the rooftops - the Saudis their only saviour.

Eventually, as they tire, riddled with disease and hunger, shall their protests abate as the realisation their Saudi overlords have forsaken them. By this point Steve Bruce will be taking charge of his 20th consecutive season, seemingly dodging death to continue managing his boyhood club.

Malcolm Dugdale says...

Now Liverpool have broken their Premier League duck, I think they will do the Premier League and Champions League double this season, and you could maybe throw the domestic cups into the mix as well.

I also think this season will sadly stand out as the one where most League One and League Two clubs go bust, plus quite a few a little lower down. Without standard revenue till probably Christmas or later, some of our oldest bastions of association football could well follow Bury. Salary caps could well accelerate that, as discussed in recent RR pod chats.

This is going to be a tough year. Hopefully we aren’t one of the historic clubs who struggle on and off the pitch.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Will Grigg
Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

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