With the club now having lost 4 of their last 4 games and early season optimism diminished and hovering just a single point above the Championship relegation zone, it begs the question. Just how far can we fall?
When Lamine Kone scored the third goal against Everton in front of 44,000 Sunderland fans back in May 2016, it felt like we were finally on to something. Like we had eventually found ourselves. Watching Sam Allardyce walking around the pitch at the final whistle, it felt like we had finally found a man who had 'got it'. The team was playing well. One defeat in our last 10 games proved that. Big Sam was showing his shrewdness in the transfer market and we recruited well with the likes of Wahbi Khazri from Bordeaux, Lamine Kone from Lorient and Jan Kirchoff coming in from Bayern Munich. It seemed that finally we were moving in the right direction. Upwards.
If someone had told me then, that within 16 months, we would be sitting 20th in the Championship with a squad made up of free transfers and loans; I would have looked at you like you were talking absolute nonsense. I wouldn't believe it. A part of me still can't.
Sunderland signed 10 players over the summer transfer window whilst spending about £2 million. Let's not forget though, there is actually some good value in there. Aiden McGeady from Everton, Ty Browning on loan from Everton and Callum McManaman from West Brom specifically. Those three signings costing between £250,000 and £500,000 combined, depending on where you read.
But it shows us one thing that is not going to be a surprise to any Sunderland supporter at the moment - we are absolutely skint. Not a pot to p**s in. It's a bleak financial picture for Sunderland at the moment. It's so bad that the canteen staff are boiling the kettle all day to make the players Pot Noodles for post training meals. I'd probably be confident I have more money in my bank account at the moment and it's that proverbial 'week before payday' for the average working man.
Obviously that couldn’t be further from the truth but it looks all the more depressing when you consider just how much money has been paid in to the Sunderland bank account in various forms over the last say, 12 months. The so called 'Prize Money' awarded from for finishing rock bottom and humiliated. The club apparently earned £99.9 million pounds for that. By comparison, Real Madrid who won La Liga last season bagged £18.5 million pounds.
Also, think about the fact they have banked £30 million pounds from the sale of Jordan Pickford to Everton. Considering all this, we spent TWO MILLION POUNDS. You don't have to work in Lloyds of London to know that's not great reading.
My worry is when looking at teams who have been relegated from the Premier League with such financial trouble, none of them have really recovered. QPR, who like Sunderland, recruited terribly for the most part in their Premier League years have since been a bottom half Championship side for the last few years. Most of us would probably take that right now given what could potentially be around the corner. Just look at Portsmouth.
With attendances dwindling, it's maybe a sign that we are all getting to a point of resignation that we're on an irreversible slide. My friends are all Manchester United 'fans' and they are quick to point and laugh at our attendances and the fact we're currently playing in a half empty stadium for home games - but it's easy for them. The prospect of supporting a club that struggles is alien to them. It's not for us. It’s called 'normal' to me and you.
Something needs to happen soon as I feel as a club we are staring down the barrel of not just a gun, but a nuclear warhead that Kim Jong Un would be proud of.
We've been in situations before where we have felt all is lost and we've somehow come up trumps and found a way to bounce back. There has never been a better time for that than now. Otherwise, I fear the prospect of trips away to Barnet, Cambridge United and Mansfield Town are on the horizon.