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RR’s SAFC End of Season Awards: Rate the performance of the club off the pitch out of ten!

What do you rate out of ten the work of the people at Sunderland AFC off the pitch last season? Our panel have their say...

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Matty Foster says... 6/10

This is a difficult one to rate and perhaps I’m being slightly harsh. On one hand, we achieved our goal in achieving promotion. But there’s been some questionable decisions on the way.

The whole Keane fiasco was an entirely avoidable scenario, one which left us rudderless for two games, that ended in two disappointing defeats.

The decision on deadline day to allow Flanagan to leave without a replacement at the time was a risk. I’m by no means suggesting Flanagan is a modern day Beckenbauer, but a lengthy injury to the backline could have left us perilously short.

However, they got the decision to sack Johnson absolutely spot on. I said around the time that I hoped we wouldn’t live to regret that. But having seen the contrast between Johnson and Neil, we wouldn’t be sitting here as a Championship side if we hadn’t made that decision at the time we did.

I liked Johnson, but if we had achieved a play-off place, I don’t think we get beyond the semi-final.

The biggest test will be next season, and the true judgment is how we go about our business in the summer.

Mike Dunne says... 7/10!

It’s pretty hard to complain about the board’s performance.

They fired Lee Johnson citing that a change was needed to get us promoted - Alex Neil has arrived and we have achieved our goals.

The issue of ownership and who actually makes the decisions behind the scenes is still lurking a little in the background and it seems to be an issue that bothers some people. I feel that maybe they could have been a little more open and honest with the situation. The lack of clear communication on the issue just led to fan apathy which probably could have been avoided.

The most important thing is that KLD insisted on promotion, and we achieved it. He backed the manager in the transfer window and also showed conviction by sacking Johnson for Neil.

It will be very interesting to see what develops this summer, but for me it’s a solid 7 for Kyril.

Will Jones says... 7/10!

The change in staff and the renovation behind the scenes to the infrastructure and the personnel were huge positives from day one.

Last summer was solid, lowering the age of the squad with a good mix of young and hungry, with also players who have the talent, but need a home and another chance. The likes of Pritchard and Evans were signed to start the window, with Cirkin, Huggins, Dajaku and Hoffmann brought in as players who wanted to develop and push themselves.

Then we move to the final week of the January window. Selling Flanagan without a replacement lined up, trying to offload Gooch, bringing in Defoe and playing the COVID games prior really put our season into a tailspin.

I believe that overall they did more good than bad, and if the mistakes are made now and learned from, then I’m happy we are over that. Move on, we have gone up with a competent squad. Here’s hoping for a higher rating next year.

Jack Gingell says... 4/10

This was a tough one as I could have easily scored them even lower.

The carry on regarding the ownership split and the fact that Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven are still hovering around the club like flies on cack grate with me.

I generally like the cut of KLD’s gib, but I wonder if he is just a figurehead, or has genuine interest in running the club.

I cannot ignore the debacle surrounding Lee Johnson’s dismissal, the courting of Roy Keane, and the lateness of appointing Alex Neil. We could have made the automatics if we had been more decisive, and it feels more in spite of the board instead of because of them.

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and the fact that Neil was actually appointed - they must get him on a proper contract however, otherwise it is another case of bizarre management at the top. Also what role did they play in the Defoe disaster? PR stunt gone completely wrong. Another low point is how poor they allowed the pitch to become at the SoL - I have never seen it in such as state after considerable improvements were not followed up on in the Summer despite comments to the contrary.

Ultimately, a really decent manager got a decent set of players to the Playoffs and a promotion - I feel like the chaos of the Madrox era still bogs us down, and until they are exorcised we will still have an element of “basket case”.

Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 1st Leg Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says... 7/10!

There was euphoria when Donald and Methven sold up, but the way the new owners handled the ownership split/percentages was naive and not needed.

The way Kyril has been present but not interfering though has been a pleasure to see. He is a very rich man at a very young age and it could well have been a different story at the SOL. He has conducted himself with grace and has a real respect for us all, and he seemed genuinely over the moon to see us go up (which I hope is emotion based on more than the value of the club growing exponentially as we left London).

He is a young owner with a lot to learn and he needs to make the club his own to get rid of past baggage, but a solid 7/10 for me in his first season at the helm.

Just become transparent and honest, and stay that way Kyril, and you will go far in God’s wonderful north east.

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