Whoever turns out to be Sunderland’s next manager will soon – and let us hope it is soon as the club’s recent experience of delayed pre-season planning is a depressing one – have to start a substantial overhaul of playing staff as we approach an August kickoff in League One.
With the ownership change moving along but not yet settled, no appointment is likely for another week or more depending on how long the EFL takes to approve the Stewart Donald takeover.
If it does go ahead, we know that the new manager, to be chosen from a current shortlist of three, will be promised the highest wages budget in the third tier. His treasure chest will not be finite, however, and we would be foolish to expect seriously high-earning or justifiably ambitious players to be at the club come the end of the summer.
It would be a shame to lose Paddy McNair, Joel Asoro or one or two others but if it does come to that, we must at least hope that the money received or saved will be used wisely. Looking at the last couple of seasons, it would on paper at least be no great hardship for a new boss to have to start from scratch.
Soon enough, we’ll be invited to place a bet on Sunderland’s promotion chances. Maybe someone will devise one of those football themed slot games you can play online
For now, Salut! Sunderland launches a mini-poll on whether supporters feel immediate promotion back to the Championship is likely. Since we are currently trying to see in the dark, the first set of voting will be based on little more than gut instinct. I have mine and you will have yours.
But we shall repeat the process at appropriate intervals. The way opinion develops among the people who should matter most – the fans of our great club – may well prove interesting.