End of Season reviews (2): Ken Gambles reports from the third world

John McCormick writes:

It’s over. It’s done. All that is left are the broken dreams, blowing in the wind like old chip wrappers on Wembley Way.

And the inquests, recriminations, praisings, optimism, the hope we can’t stand.  We’ll have a few of these in our end of season reviews, which began with Deputy Editor Malcolm Dawson’s contribution prior to the play off final and continue until everyone who wants to has had their say, when Pete Sixsmith will wrap up the series and the season in fine style.

Ken Gambles is next up

Report from the Third World

A season in Division Three ( old money ) book-ended by Gooch’s last minute winner at home to Charlton and Bauer’s last minute clincher at Wembley To send us home defeated yet again at the National Stadium. ‘Twas ever thus.

Given where we were a year ago, however, real progress has been made, although not as quickly as we hoped. Much debt has been cleared,we have seemingly responsible and committed owners and a squad who though far from world-beaters most of us can actually LIKE. Of course there’s been failure in that promotion wasn’t achieved even though we were best resourced, and all of us are aware of the high price we paid for too many draws. I did expect that eventually the side would ‘click’ but it never happened and despite evidence of fighting spirit and commitment, too often we were unable to ‘finish teams off’.

needs more time

Personally, with some reservations, I would give Jack Ross more time as I am certain that our 9 or so managers in the past 10 years haven’t provided any stability whatsoever. My biggest grouses this season have been the disgraceful antics of our opponents ( Wycombe and Portsmouth the worst of a bad bunch ), and some truly dreadful refereeing ; Messrs Coote ( the worst refereeing ‘performance I have ever witnessed ), Probert and Heywood – add others as you see fit – hang your whistles in shame. Thankfully there were teams who largely kept to the spirit of the game and I would commend Gillingham, Burton and Barnsley.

People ridiculed Chris Coleman for his ‘ we are where we are ‘ saying, but it’s true. To become better we have to be better and mere expectation is not enough. At least there is hope for the future and if Charlie is to be believed investment in the pipeline. In terms of final position this has been the worst in our history and yet I have enjoyed it and can think of a host of past campaigns which have been far harder to cope with. No promotion was a big disappointment but after 54 years I’ve learned it’s the Sunderland way. Ha’way!

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