Sunderland will spend a second season in League One for the first time in their history after the weekend’s play-off defeat against Charlton Athletic.
They’ve only ever had one season outside the top two divisions, winning the old Third Division in 1988. After finishing fifth this campaign they narrowly beat Portsmouth in the play-off semi-final, but couldn’t go as far as to win at Wembley.
They’re the second side in as many years to lose in the EFL Trophy final as well as the League One play-off final, following in the footsteps of Shrewsbury last season.
All of that will be academic to their supporters though who know they’ll be going into next season as firm favourites for promotion. With £5m worth of strikers available and another strong summer expected, the Black Cats have to be right up there in the betting markets.
Owner Stewart Donald has tweeted his apologies to the fans, claiming that the club ‘need to do better’ next season. Despite the disappointment, few seem to be blaming the former Eastleigh chairman, as you’ll see from a sample of the replies below.
unless Jack Ross intends to drastically change his mindset then frustrations will grow and grow in the coming months. 20 draws isn't a coincidence. We've got the best squad of players in league. Any draw should be seen as failure. 20 draws is a monumental failure.
— JL73. (@JL_1973) May 28, 2019
You couldn't of done much more off the pitch. Backed JR with a good budget . Only question I would have Stewart is to JR. The repeated errors game after game of taking a lead then trying to park the bus.Was that under JR's instructions or is it the players going into their shell
— Corneilious71 (@boxing_buddy) May 28, 2019
It wasn’t for the want of trying. You have engaged with the fan base in a way not seen at this club since Quinn was in your position. It’s the players that failed to deliver unfortunately. We go again in August.
— Neil Grieves (@notch_32) May 28, 2019
You’ll be writing this again next year if JR stays at the wheel, the most negative approach I’ve ever seen to a Sunderland team in 36years. Experienced management team required and then we will get back up
— Mark 'chips' Ferry (@chips_73) May 28, 2019
You go out of your way to help our supporters, you are what many owners should be. Strengthen and go go again, thank you for everything Stewart.. ?⚪️?⚪️
— Michael St Julien (@xBlackcat__) May 28, 2019
You and Methven did your best and gave us a squad capable of top two, the blame for not achieving it lies elsewhere; no issue if Ross stays, just hope he's more attacking, ambitious and tries to kill teams off next season. No more you could do and no apology needed.
— Guinness Guzzler (@GuzzlerSAFC) May 27, 2019
You have done everything we have asked of you. The blame is down to the players and manager. The players didn't deliver. we go again next season. Chekatrade and league double IMO?
— Tyler (@safc_tyler) May 27, 2019
You did everything you could but ultimately the manager let you down, time to make a tough decision and get rid of Ross and get a manager in who wants to play attacking football.
— J (@belly19882) May 27, 2019