After two successive relegations, many would fail to believe that there is an air of optimism around Sunderland once again. The old regime that ultimately failed the club has gone. Many of the players that have also put the club where it is will soon play elsewhere. New owners are in place as is a new manager, Jack Ross.
With them and the fans all seemingly pulling in the same direction, a positive outcome to this season is being dreamed about by all.
Feel Good Factor Returning to Wearside With Jack Ross, Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven
After admitting he wanted out last year, Ellis Short finally got his wish when presented with an acceptable bid. Majority shareholder Stewart Donald along with Charlie Methven have come into the club with the hope of turning around a sleeping giant.
Unlike the old regime, they have been very vocal and have kept fans in the loop wherever possible as to what is happening and their plans for the short and long term. They have promised that new players will arrive and many of those that do not wish to stay or are surplus to requirements will be moved on as soon as possible.
However, it should also be noted that they have insisted that anyone wishing to leave the club will do so on their terms. Players will have a price and if that is not met by any interested clubs then the player will not leave. Sunderland are not going to be giving players away for nothing if they have a transfer value.
Good news, as the last owner and board sold or let players go for free or below their market value. At the present time, it is so far so good as far as the new regime is concerned.
Jack Ross is the Boss
Former St Mirren manager Jack Ross was top of the list and Sunderland got their man. Ross is a young and confident manager. He turned St Mirren from relegation probables to champions in less than two years. During the summer he was a much sought-after manager but the Black Cats acted swiftly and got their man.
He now has the task of rebuilding the squad and hopefully replicating the excellent job he did at St Mirren. Ross has a reputation of getting the best out of players and fans are excited to see who he buys. His attacking style and determination to succeed and get the club back where it belongs should also excite fans.
Ticket Sales on the up
Black Cat fans are certainly prepared to back their team, more so this season than last. They have currently sold more than 21,000 season tickets. This beats the figure from last season when they were in a division higher.
Many clubs in the Championship and also the Premier League dream about a figure such as this. It is certainly not bad for a club that have suffered back to back relegations.
With the club selling this many so far, they are hopeful that they can reach their new target of 23,000 before the season begins. With much of the summer still to go and many signings still to be made, that figure is definitely reachable.
Many of the players that have played over the last two seasons will be leaving. Players who feel that even though they have contributed to two successive relegations feel that they deserve to play in one of the top two divisions in England.
Players such as Wahbi Khazri, Didier Ndong, Lee Cattermole, Paddy McNair and Lamine Kone, along with many others, will be moved on with a fee attached. This should give Jack Ross extra funds to bring in players he wants and just as importantly want to be at the club.
With outgoings set to be high, Sunderland will almost need to build a new squad. Defender Alim Öztürk has already signed and several others are expected to be announced in the coming days. This is a start, but others will also need to be brought in, ideally sooner rather than later.
Sunderland want to be out of League One and back into the Championship sooner rather than later and those coming in will be expected to contribute to a promotion push. A new squad will hopefully bring a new attitude and also a winning mentality. Both of which were lacking over the last two seasons at the Stadium of Light.
It is a shame that a club the size of Sunderland with its large and loyal fanbase have to wait until relegation to England’s third tier before a good feeling is beginning to be felt around the club. The club has been this low before and recovered. They must do it again.
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