After an impressive finish last season, Sunderland fans can be forgiven for thinking better things were on the cards for the 2015/16 Premier League campaign.
But just two games in and all optimism on Wearside has vanished.
Sunderland fans have had enough and it’s time for a change at the Stadium of Light. Since promotion in 2007 the club have failed to progress, and, apart from one top ten finish, the club have done little apart from narrowly survive relegation. Meanwhile, clubs like Southampton, Swansea and Stoke have all mastered the correct recruitment strategy and left Sunderland behind.
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Sunderland can ill afford to mess about this season as it’s already going to take years to catch up the aforementioned clubs. And even this season; Aston Villa, Newcastle, Leicester and West Brom have spent big in the hope of turning around their fortunes.
The rumour is that Sunderland are out of cash and fans are demanding answers. How can the club be strapped for cash? Problems on and off the pitch are causing fans to drift away from their beloved club.
Sunderland’s average attendance since promotion is 40,000+ and last season it was a staggering 43,000 with the red and white army selling out all but one away game.
Those statistics don’t match what the players are serving up on the pitch. The Black Cats have manged to win, on average, just a mere 6.5 home games a season in recent years. Since the beginning of the 2012/2013 season they have won only fourteen home league games and last season they won just four.
Winning just four home games in the Premier League is unforgivable and it’s a miracle the Black Cats have lasted this long. The fans can’t be blamed for finally turning their back on the club.
Fans of other teams and Match of the Day often scoff at Sunderland fans for leaving early, such as those who walked out as Norwich scored their second last weekend.
Can the fans really be blamed for having enough? Having over 40,000 fans and managing to win just four home games is disgraceful. A season ticket at the Stadium of Light is £400 so that equates to £100 a win, not to mention match-day costs such as travel and refreshments.
Sunderland fans should be able to expect a team who wins and who tries. Of course there is no God given right they should win games but they should be able to compete with the likes of Norwich and Leicester City. And the team should certainly always try. But some players just don’t look interested.
During his turbulent reign, Paolo Di Canio was highly critical of the way Sunderland was ran and could not believe the attitude of some of the players. Maybe that is the problem in modern day football, the attitude of players is all wrong.
Things must change
It’s pivotal that Sunderland make three-to-four more signings before the end of the transfer window, otherwise they are in danger of losing Dick Advocaat.
And on the pitch, they have to turn things around quickly. They must start with the basics, because at the minute they’re struggling to get even them right. The defence would be a good place to start, despite three new defensive recruitments, the back four have been torn apart in the opening games.
Defensive midfielders Lee Cattermole and Yann M’Vila took the accolade for the most distance covered during the Norwich game. The pairing covered nearly seven miles each, and perhaps that was down to covering for the incompetence defence behind them.
One positive for the Black Cats is that they have scored in both games so far, and if they create for Lens, Defoe and Fletcher the goals will flow, although another striker is needed to ensure they don’t fall short, as they did last season.
Another positive is young star Duncan Watmore who marked his Premier League debut with a late consolation goal against Norwich. That boy has a big future ahead of him, and it’s crucial that Sunderland develop him properly.