In this, the latest end of season review from our regular and not so regular contributors, Paul Summerside takes a metaphorical look back at the season just gone. Short and sweet it maybe but it encapsulates the general mood on and around Wearside at the present time.
ONCE AGAIN we began the season in a perilous position of perennial weakness. Our proud club, with its roots in shipbuilding, had become serial relegation fodder. Lessons from previous seasons had not been learnt. Managers had been appointed and backed to the hilt, on the basis of avoiding relegation and winning derby games. Firefighting!
No progression, no major change in team formation, no change in team ethic. Sunderland were a rudderless ship, a Titanic sailing towards the inevitable iceberg of relegation, with the captain unable to chart a course to get us “clear of the ice fields”.
Then everything changed. Sam Allardyce was appointed.
The timing of this was crucial as the ship was still afloat, and the captain had time to assess and come up with a plan to survive and plot a course to safety. Dead wood was jettisoned, at team and board level, and a plan put in place to strengthen the current “crew”. A generous helping of “Special K” was administered on a daily basis, promoting good health and attitude to the crew.
The overall response was nothing short of breathtaking, 26 points in 18 games is top 10 form. The home games v Chelsea and Everton will live on for many as the best ever seen at the SOL in the premier league, the fans have found their Mojo again.
And so we sail into the sunset, actually looking forward to the start of next season. Everything is in place, chairman, manager, back room staff, team ethos, 3/4 of a team, money, facilities, fan base. HMS Sunderland, can look forward to sailing in steadier waters, for years to come, thanks to Captain BSA.