Over. Official. And from a season with occasional promise, Sunderland finish in a disappointing 16th place in the table with the reversal against Sheffield Wednesday meaning only three points separated the sides after a 46 game season. Imagine that scenario last autumn.

It was perhaps fitting that the final moments of the season ended with a sombre Sunderland fan base in a supporting role to the celebratory away section, the singing Owls of Sheffield as they rejoiced at avoiding the trap door that would, again, see third tier football in the Steel City next season. 


SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE: Win a pair of Black Cats Bar season tickets for Sunderland's 2024/25 campaign


For Sunderland, notably the financial power of Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, the coming months are make or break. In passing the two season stage of Championship football, even the more patient of fans have concluded the time is now to display credentials, to demonstrate that promotion is not something simply expressed in hope and word, that prior to the outset of the new season there are enviable glances towards a club with new management, changes in culture and a playing personnel that is more equally divided between post adolescence and prolonged appearances. 

Perhaps the over achievement of last season brought complacency. It may have reinforced the logic that if a group of young players can reach the play-offs then the same group, a year older and wiser, surely they can go one step further. 

Football and logic do not always find acquaintance. And this is without factoring Sunderland into the equation, a club where newness often offers hope but before long succumbs to staleness. 

There is a reason why a disproportionate number of Sunderland players never realise a profit by the time they move elsewhere. The appointment of a suitable manager will, in the absence of matches, now occupy more conjecture and columns. 

Recent reports have speculated the man in the away dugout in the season's final fixture, Danny Rohl, may commence next season having made the short journey across to the home one. His star has undoubtedly risen given how he resurrected a side that looked certain to return to League One. 

We Are Sunderland: Sheffield Wednesday boss Danny Rohl has been linked with the head coach vacancy at the Stadium of LightSheffield Wednesday boss Danny Rohl has been linked with the head coach vacancy at the Stadium of Light (Image: Ian Horrocks)

His path to management has presented opportunities to operate in the shadows. Time spent coaching in Leipzig, Munich, Southampton and with the German national side will have proved insightful. His experience, as he galvanised a Wednesday side that looked doomed as autumn said farewell, impressing further, especially potential suitors with the Premier League in their sights. 

Sunderland have had ample time to size up the options. Further, they will – I trust - have engaged in a period of introspection as to whether the aims of a leading Championship club are attainable if, in essence, pursuing a policy that resembles a form of age discrimination. 




Adding insult to injury has been the personal performances of some who had spent time on Wearside but felt their career was better served elsewhere. The grievances of supporters about the lack of quality at present is added to with Broadhead, Simms, Doyle et al bringing their talents elsewhere.

If that wasn't enough, the absence of genuine quality and experience from the focal point of the forward line resulted in what many had envisaged. You did not need to possess a Nostradamus type skillset to predict the outcome.

The season opened with two defeats, it ended with three. The part in between veered very occasionally towards the sublime but more often spent time towards the other end of that particular spectrum.

What the summer has in store, we shall see.