Sunderland Staring At Prospect of Back-To-Back Relegations

There is a concept that football fans console themselves with once the reality of relegation sets in. It normally begins with a phrase such as “would relegation really be that bad?” and soon progresses to such positive statements as “maybe it would do us good to go down,” “at least we could start winning games again” and “it will do us good to regroup - we can come back even stronger.”

Towards the end of last season, these were the kind of theories that were being uttered by many Sunderland fans who, sick to death of watching their team lose games and take part in annual relegation scraps, were seeking crumbs of comfort amongst the misery.

The David Moyes era will not be remembered fondly by anyone associated with the club but it is in danger of being remembered as the era that set the club on an uncontrollable downward spiral from which they will take years to recover. Such was the negativity generated by the last campaign that those who sought solace in relegation, and the resurrection that it might prompt, perhaps deserve to be commended.

Today, for even the most positive of Black Cats fans, the glass is not even half full - it is empty and dry and it takes the kind of spirit that only a die-hard football supporter wearing rose-tinted glasses can possess, to imagine it replenished once again.

The club is sinking fast in the Championship and they are in danger of suffering the indignation of a second consecutive relegation. If you enjoy having a bet on your favorite sport you may have noticed that the odds on the club going down are shortening fast. Moreover, the man recruited to halt their slide, Simon Grayson, has not played down the prospect, having already stated that no team is too good to go down.” For any Sunderland fan, such words are profoundly unpalatable, especially so early in a season.

Firstly, it sounds like the words of someone who is getting their excuses in early and expecting to fail (see Moyes last August). That might be harsh on Grayson given the club’s current off-the-field predicament but what everyone needs right now is a voice of confidence to calm the anxiety; some bluff and bluster to rally the troops.

Secondly, there are teams that are too good to go down and any team that has just been demoted from the top flight, even one with the skeleton squad that Grayson inherited, should be equipped to survive in the Championship.

Another relegation would be a disaster for Sunderland. Any talk of how it might do the club good to drop to the third tier will not wash this time around. There is no more time for rebuilding and regrouping. This is now about survival - not just as a team but as a viable entity going forward. But the negativity that was ever present last season still has a front seat on the Sunderland team bus. And what’s more, it has been further compounded by the bewildering lack of organisation on the field of play. This is a club that is truly on the back foot in every respect.

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