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Opinion: The sound of silence doesn’t add to the excitement for Sunderland fans

“Following on from the Wembley high, the off season should have been a time of anticipation and excitement but news from the Stadium of Light has been non-existent.”

Give us something to be excited about!
| Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

We live in a world of instant information gratification. We are now so well served by online news outlets and social media that we expect to be aware of what is happening immediately.

Football clubs are businesses. But they are more akin to an entertainment organisation than a bank. Entertainment businesses have to get the audience to either come through the doors or pay for a subscription. As such they will be pump out information to not only provide details of who is appearing when, but also to ensure they are in the potential audiences’ minds day in day out.

Sunderland like any football club are all about getting the fans into the ground. While the broadcast revenue is an ever more sizable proportion of income, without the fans packing the stadium I am sure pitch side and other advertising revenues would take a hit.

Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off S-F Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The same can be said with the shirt deal. The kit manufactures want the shirts sold and the sponsor wants as many fans as possible to be walking advertising hoardings across the world.

We all appreciate that we wouldn’t expect Alex Neil to be on twitter or the club’s website every five minutes updating us on the players he fancies bringing in to strengthen the squad for the upcoming campaign.

However the only substantive message we have had from the club in the past three weeks has been KLD’s statement over the crypto consortium which is looking to acquire Donald and Methven’s shares.

In days gone by many top division teams would find a way to play the last game of the season in next season’s new kit. The perfect way to get the club shop packed out at the final whistle.

I cannot believe that the club couldn’t have given the fans a preview of the new kit by now, even if they decided it would not be on sale until the middle of July.

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

If nothing else it would have given us all something to discuss and talk about while we await the first of the conveyor belt of signings which will be heading for the AoL I the weeks to come!

Yes, we know the pre-season fixtures and I am sure many are looking forward to a trip to Portugal and Dundee, but there is plenty the club could and should be communicating to the fans.

“Nature abhors a vacuum” so the saying goes, but so do football fans, especially in an age where information is so plentiful.

That vacuum is all to often filled with rumours that the club are buying X player and is selling Y player, and as we have seen in recent weeks that this group or that group are looking to make a bid for all or part of the club.

We are without doubt the best supporters in the world. The 30,000 plus season tickets already sold just provides further evidence of the fact, given those sales have come with little or no effort from the club to sell the coming season.

The club should be setting the mood for the season ahead. Why not get Speakman, or KLD talking about their hopes for the coming season? When the lads return provide reports on how training and with it the squad fitness is progressing.

Even news on the state of the pitch post Ed Sheeran and the plans to ensure it is pristine throughout next season gives us all a glimpse inside the stadium and gets us thinking of the season ahead.

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

Would it be too much for Alex Neil to talk about his views on the state of the Championship next season, the games he is looking forward to, where he thinks the squad needs to strengthen and, fingers crossed, how delighted he was to commit his long term future to the project of returning Sunderland to the Premier League?

The wall of silence at the club sends the wrong message – it opens the door to the voices of doom who will say that the silence simply proves the club is in crisis internally and there little if anything for the fans to get even a little bit excited about.

Set the mood and give us something to excited about. We want to be talking about positive news from the club with our fellow fans over a drink not speculating as to why it is oh so quiet.


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