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Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg

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After the smoke has cleared... what now for Sunderland AFC?

It was a devastating weekend, but now the dust has settled, what now for Sunderland AFC? Anthony Gair has faith that this club is on the upward turn.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The disaster of Saturday’s result appears to have had an incendiary effect on our supporters, with a group of fans incapable of, perhaps understandably, withholding their anger towards Lee Johnson.

Sunderland lost 3-2 on aggregate to Lincoln City on Saturday, which created quite the divide between fans all over social media and on the streets of the town. Now the smoke has cleared and the rubble has been swept away, how do we feel about the situation?

Naturally, we’re devastated to be spending yet another season in the, all so familiar now, League One, and a minority of vocal fans have been calling for the head of Lee Johnson in an attempt to release some of the anger towards another perpetual season of disappointment.

Whether you feel that their approach is acceptable or not is irrelevant, it’s happened now and, although I feel that the behaviour was abhorrent and undignified, I accept that these people were angry, and had the opportunity to finally confront our manager outside the stadium, after a somewhat successful return of fans into our beloved Stadium of Light, and took it with aplomb.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With some fans complaining to Johnson that out of contract, 31-goal striker Charlie Wyke had exclaimed profanity at them whilst leaving the ground, and questioning some of his decisions (mainly bringing on Tom Flanagan instead of Jordan Jones), it already doesn’t bode well for the 39-year old-former Bristol City player and manager who has been in charge for only five months.

In what should be one of the busiest summers of transfer ‘ins and outs’ in Sunderland’s history, Johnson will be given the chance to create a side with his own identity, and this is when we will see whether or not he is cut out for the challenge of getting us back out of this League.

Fans with short memories appear to have forgotten that, when Johnson took the club into his hands, he was stifled in the transfer market by an illegal salary cap issued by the EFL, thus disabling any real likelihood of him being able to mould a side that plays his style of football.

Instead, he was left with a mentally bereft side, battered by the monotony of the management of Phil Parkinson, which Johnson miraculously managed to get back into a promotion space and actually looking like dead certs to win the league, in effect.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Play-off Semi Final 2nd Leg Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

It’s all still a little too raw for some fans still and a little vitriol is still to be expected by those fans who’ve simply just had enough, but it is begged of them to have more patience in Johnson, as the club now actually has a recruitment system in place for the first time since before Donald and Methven took charge and these things can only mend themselves with passing time.

Its the hope that kills us, but please, have faith that this club is on the upward turn, and once the vast majority of these out of contract players have gone and have been replaced by players the gaffer trusts, we will find ourselves in the Championship once again... yes, that means another year in this dreadful division, but good things come to those who wait, eh?


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