Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Has The Luck Finally Run Out For Sunderland?

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Sunderland have had a tumultuous start to the season. But it is not something the club will have faced for the first time. For the last couple of years, the club has collectively failed to bring about any sort of change which would take the club forward. Hasty managerial decisions, failure to address pressing issues has resulted in relegation, battles one after the other. A similar pattern has emerged where the Black Cats are invariably slow to start off and scrape points while trudging along the way.

After a certain point in the season, realisation dawns and the potential echelons of the 2nd tier football rattles the who’s who at the Stadium of Light. They subsequently move to hire a manager and he is tasked with the unenviable target of staving off relegation and surprisingly enough the people brought in actually manage to pull it off. This occurrence along with the money being pumped into the Premier League has arguably put down the matters regarding the footballing aspect on the back-burner which has resulted in a lack of clarity in most of the decisions taken regarding the resurrection of the club, into what Sunderland signifies in England.

There was a hope that after pulling off another miraculous relegation battle victory, Sam Allardyce would be the perfect candidate to straighten the backbone of the club once again. There was optimism till the news of Roy Hodgson being potentially replaced started coming in. And after weeks of deliberation, Big Sam did yield to the lure of becoming the prestigious National team manager of England.

With valuable time and ground conceded in the summer, it was left to the hapless David Moyes to steady the ship. The much maligned manager, after failed stints at Manchester United and Real Sociedad grasped at the opportunity to redeem himself. Many likened the relatively low expectations from the Wearside club to the solid tenure he had at Everton and optimists hoped that over time he would be able to inculcate a similar work ethos and solidity to the Black Cats as well.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League

But in the hectic and frenetic nature of the Premier League, with teams like Middlesbrough signing Alvaro Negredo and Victor Valdes, to put as an example, Sunderland have been extremely poor with respect to 90% of the clubs. Depending on a Premier League veteran to lead the club throughout the whole season is blasphemy from the club. And it is just the tip of the iceberg and the confusion regarding the fans is completely justified.

The team are currently in the 19th spot having mustered a single point from the opening 4 fixtures. With the stakes high like never before, Sunderland needed to act and act fast. But shockingly, they have once again fallen short of the desired level of proactivity needed to be shown in the league.

David Moyes is a man who would be aware of the challenges in store. And he is a man they would currently want in the hot seat. But the question arises. Do the men who matter, really have it in them? Or has luck finally run out for Sunderland?

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