Who at the club deserves a special mention?
Matty Foster says... Louise Wanless!
Somebody who we sadly lost last year, but who will always remain a part of this club.
The footage after the play-off final of the team celebrating, with the Sunderland shirt in the background with ‘Wanless’ on the back was such a touching tribute.
It speaks volumes of just how deeply loved and respected she was at the club having spent over sixteen years here.
It was lovely to see the club name the media lounge in her honour earlier in the season, which again is a such a fitting way to honour somebody had such a profound effect on those she met.
It’s a reminder that all those we’ve lost who had Sunderland in their heart, will always be part of the club in everything we do.
Mike Dunne says... Chris Waters!
I bang this drum an awful lot, but our SLO Chris Waters deserves so much credit.
He has a thankless task of dealing with all sorts of fan queries. It cannot be easy trying to ensure everyone is happy and attempting to sort out all the issues that come his way.
With us getting to Wembley, I can only imagine it was even tougher.
Credit goes to Chris for all the work he does. He always has a smile on his face, and will go to great lengths to help everyone.
Thanks for everything, Chris!
Jack Gingell says... Dennis Cirkin!
This may seem an unusual choice but I feel like I can make a decent argument for it.
Starting the season at 19 years old, at a club full of expectation on your first senior season as a professional is a daunting task. He started brightly but suffered with injury and then struggled to regain that form.
Unlike his teammates Callum Doyle and Dan Neil, Cirkin did not have the luxury of being rotated/rested from the starting eleven due to our lack of full backs available. He was forced to double down and try to push forwards, despite showing signs of burnout similar to the aforementioned two.
To Cirkin’s credit, he has come through to the other side and played his part in the strong rearguard atypical of Alex Neil’s Sunderland, not only in his favoured left back role but also as a left sided centre back in a back three.
Some players would have continued to wilt but Cirkin dug deep, and with support from experienced duo Wright and Batth, he has shown some signs of his early promise. I feel this is neatly summed up by his early yellow card in the Playoff final, and despite looking a little dicey, he regained his discipline and got us over the line.
His strength of character shone through, and I think it is something that has been underplayed by many supporters following the season’s conclusion - onwards and upwards.
Malc Dugdale says... Lee Johnson!
I know he isn’t at the club anymore, and I am not sure whether we would have been promoted if we didn’t let him go post-Bolton, but he bought the players and set out his plan that others have benefitted from, and we have to recognise that.
Will Jones says... Louise Wanless!
The visual of the celebrations with the shirt in the background brought a tear to my eye. It really shows the impact she had on everyone, how loved and cherished she was, and always will be.
From the tributes we had earlier in the season, she will always be remembered and loved by every one of us for what she has done for our club.
Thank you for everything Louise.