To say that Sunderland have had somewhat of a torrid Premier League campaign could genuinely be considered an understatement. The Black Cats have been in the firing line for a large majority of the season, with the club being officially put out of their misery this past weekend after suffering a home defeat to Bournemouth- a loss that officially relegated them to the Championship.
Realistically speaking, Sunderland’s relegation should come as no surprise to many Premier League fans as David Moyes’ men have struggled to pick up points since their opening fixture of season when they lost away at Manchester City- they then went on to lose at home to the divisions newcomers, Middlesbrough, before having to wait 3 months until they finally managed to snatch their first 3 points of the season against Bournemouth.
Many will sit, point and lay the blame directly on David Moyes but surely one man on his own cannot be at fault for the fundamental failings that have gone on at Sunderland. Financially they are in ruin- it’s common knowledge that the club are in debt and contractually they look like they are set to lose several key players this summer and could face an almost impossible task of bouncing straight back up into the top-tier of English football. Clubs like Wigan Athletic, Birmingham City, Reading, Derby County and many more, know just how difficult life can be after the pain of being relegated to the Championship.
On the pitch, Fabio Borini has failed to live up to initial expectations, contributing just 2 goals in his 20 appearances for his side, while Victor Anichebe spent a large part of the season out injured. With that being said, there were one or two individuals that really stood out and caught the eye- one being Jordan Pickford and the other being Jermaine Defoe. Both players will more than likely move on in the summer and it will be extremely interesting to see where both end up, especially with Pickford looking set for a huge transfer to a team willing to pay huge money for the English goalkeeper.
Theoretically speaking, the Sunderland board of directors will have a decision to make once Pickford is sold to another club. Do they reinvest that money into new star players in a bid to escape the Championship or do they sit back and count the many millions in which Pickford will fetch. It could be difficult to swallow, but Sunderland could do with taking a leaf out of their rials book (Newastle United) by rebuilding from the ground up and creating a side filled with the experience necessary to challenge in such a tough and turbulent division. Whether the Black Cats do follow that path remains to be seen.
Another question on the minds of most Sunderland fans will be whether the controversial David Moyes will still remain at the club beyond this season. Moyes himself admitted that it was “too soon” to talk about whether he’d remain at the club but also spoke about needing to reflect on matters from the ground up.
“I think it’s a question for two or three weeks’ time. I also think we all need to reflect and look at everything from top to bottom.”
“I’ll sit down with Ellis and Martin in the next week or so and speak about it but I’m more concerned about the people who follow the club. My emotions are with the people in this area, they’re the ones I feel for.”
Whether you love him or hate him, David Moyes is clearly feeling the pain and frustration of being relegated from the Premier League and it’s not a feeling the Scotsman has experienced before. The former Preston North End, Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad manager will now face an anxious few weeks before finding out whether or not he’ll be the man responsible for spearheading the project of helping Sunderland gain promotion from the Championship.