It’s unusual for Sunderland to be going into the last few games of the season with the pressure off and not having much to play for.
Theoretically, we could make the playoffs, but the chances of winning all our remaining fixtures are slim, and we all know it won’t happen.
I don’t have a problem with that.
Like most fans, I started the season worried that we would be battling relegation, so the campaign has been a pleasant surprise. In fact, it’s been more than that. Some of our football has been thrilling, and we’re not far off making a realistic bid for promotion, which is nothing short of amazing. I end the season looking forward to the next campaign, and there have been plenty of seasons recently when I couldn’t have said that.
Let’s look at what we’ve got.
A promising goalkeeper sought after by Premier League sides, despite his dodgy distribution (personally, I think his distribution is so poor that I wouldn’t be too upset to see him sold for a decent fee).
A defense that is generally solid, with Trai Hume emerging as one of the finds of the season.
An exciting, attacking midfield.
And an attack that keeps scoring despite our lack of actual strikers. Puzzle that one out.
We need some serious additions up front and someone who can play the Correy Evans role but with more mobility and without injuries. Then, well, perhaps we’re nearly there.
The exciting thing is that we have so many young players who improve with every game, Michut being a case in point.
What I’d like the club to do is to maintain the momentum from this campaign into the close season and communicate what they want to achieve in the transfer market - and deliver.
Too often, in recent years, the club has drifted through the summer transfer window, causing frustration amongst the fanbase. Wouldn’t it be great to get a couple of good signings done early, before the US tour, to show us all that the club means business?
Let’s have a solid statement of intent, not the usual silence.
On that note, should we aim to bring Jordan Henderson home?
Liverpool need a major overhaul this summer, and his time there must be coming to an end. Could he do a job on the pitch and in the dressing room, even though he’ll blow our wage structure to kingdom come?
I think he could. He can’t play at the very highest level now, but I think he could more than hold his own against the likes of Preston and Stoke. Signing Henderson could be the statement of intent we need to show we mean business, paving the way for more quality signings and generating much-needed optimism and momentum for the start of next season.
Go on, Tone, bring wor Jordan home.