The Black Cats’ perennial battle against relegation could be over.
All things considered, Sunderland have done well to survive over the past few years, as the trapdoor opened and nearly swallowed them, only for miraculous escape after miraculous escape saving them.
Under the madman Paolo Di Canio, the wide-eyed Poyet and the grandfather of football, Dick Advocaat, Sunderland have yo-yoed precariously with their Premier League fate. Amazing late runs ins on each of those seasons have swung the pendulum of fate their way, as their rivals took the plunge for them.
Better things were expected last season, but Advocaat never felt that he had the backing of club chairman, Ellis Short. He saved them from relegation, but had a frustrating summer and bemoaned the fact that he was not able to bring in higher-quality signings.
His fears about the overall standard of his pool were realised as the Wearsiders won only once before his departure, and that was in the Capital One Cup against Exeter.
Next season is a new start for everyone and here are a few good reasons why Sunderland will have a better season next term…
You have to hand it to the big man. He has done it again. Never has he taken a team down from the Premier League and now he appears to have the backing of the board to build a side capable of holding their own.
Sound acquisitions in the January transfer window helped to turn the club’s fortunes around, but not before the occasional stutter that made every Black Cats supporter’s heart stop. Allardyce will now build his team and it will be defensive and at times ugly to watch, but you are guaranteed Premier League status with the ex-West Ham man and the fans will love him for it. Definitely the best man for Sunderland.
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) June 9, 2016
Sunderland have tied Defoe down to a new contract that’ll run until 2019, and his goals will provide a solid base that will keep the club away from the relegation area. 18 last year, 15 in the league, shows that the 33-year-old is still a lethal top flight striker and could have gone to France with the England squad.
Back in the Premier League after a spell in Major League Soccer, Defoe’s 15 goals were only bettered by Kane, Vardy and four overseas players, so Sunderland fans should be happy that a hit-man of his calibre is a Black Cat, because this cat has claws.
According to Transferleague.co.uk – Sunderland have spent £26m in two transfer windows, but still struggled. In essence, it was the quality of the players that let them down. Allardyce would not stick around if the funds to re-build were not available, therefore, with ‘Big Sam’s’ hands on the purse strings, the buys will be solid, quality and able to play within the pressure that is the Premier League.
Retaining their Premier League status entitles Sunderland to a share of the new £5bn television rights deal that kicks in next season, so Allardyce should not be short on funds with which to improve his squad. A few wise investments are likely to be required to further transform a unit that still looks bereft of sufficient quality to improve their plight next season.
Fantastic team spirit was cultivated in the time of need and hardship under Allardyce and is something that he will be keen to build on. We all saw the team spirit at Leicester last year and whilst no one expects Sunderland to imitate that feat, the mood within the camp is often the reason for success on any level.
Those recruited by Allardyce will be the kind that will fit into the general ‘feel-good factor’ at the Stadium Of Light and with everyone sticking together, playing for each other and remaining unified, next year will be a better season and give Sam and Sunderland a chance to view life in the league looking down, rather than looking up.