Sunderland threw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 to Charlton Athletic in the League One Playoff Final.
TalkSPORT host Jim White posted a photo of Stewart Donald after the full time whistle, and it’s fair to say it summed up the mood of a thoroughly deflated club.
— Jim White (@JimWhite) May 26, 2019
The Sunderland owner looked like the loneliest man in football, pondering over his thoughts and reflecting on a season of nearly moments.
Sunderland gambled and ran the highest wage budget in League One and also spent the most on transfers – including the purchase of Will Grigg from Wigan Athletic for £4m.
All of these were calculated risks based on the fact the new Sunderland owners clearly believed Jack Ross could take Sunderland back into the Championship.
After five minutes of Sunday’s final it looked like Sunderland were going to get promoted, as a calamitous own goal by Naby Sarr handed them the lead and early momentum, but they failed to capitalise and paid the ultimate price.
Stewart Donald’s gamble has failed and a change in strategy may have to be considered next season to ensure the Black Cats return to the Championship at the second time of asking.