Sunderland open their season with a friendly against Gateshead at the Gateshead International Arena this afternoon, but before a ball has been kicked fans have been expressing their unhappiness.
The Black Cats are kicking off a couple of days later than most and, as yet, they’ve only made a handful of signings to complement the side which failed to achieve a play-off place last season. They’ve named a side that looks very familiar, with the likes of Charlie Wyke, Grant Leadbitter and Conor McLaughlin in the starting eleven.
Indeed, only Bailey Wright makes the starting XI, with Aiden O’Brien on the bench, their other new signing. The formation looks to be the same as before, a 3-5-2 but with full-back McLaughlin playing as a centre back. There’s one trialist in the 24-man squad, with Harrogate hero Jack Diamond amongst the subs.
It’s the familiar feel which has got Sunderland fans on edge already. A ball hasn’t been kicked in anger, but the constant rumble of takeover talks, the broken promises and the lack of transfer activity has already left their supporters feeling jaded, and seeing a familiar team taking to the field this afternoon has exasperated their negativity.
They might come away with a barnstorming win, they might look a different side to the one which failed last season but, if these fans are to be believed, it is going to be very much business as usual and that won’t be enough to stop the moans.
Be sure to give our Sunderland player quiz a go right here
PPs first line up Wyke starts ????? fuck me man!!!
— Alan B (@AlanBsafc) August 22, 2020
Yeah it is, Gatesheads his level tho
— Hooley (@StuHooley) August 22, 2020
Bet scowen must be kicking himself coming here if he can't get in ahead of leadbitter and dobson
— steven ramshaw (@SteveRamshaw) August 22, 2020
Thought the team would be more attacking and thought O’Brien might have got a start instead of Embelton but apart from that probably what was to be expected
— Connor Moore (@ConnorMMedia) August 22, 2020
You’ve waited until 2:08, to put this out? Yous havin’ a laugh, like? Leadbitter ?
— ?⚪ (@Camer0nJohnson) August 22, 2020
Strong team, 100 points has to be the target, just filling in for the absence of Donald!
— Rich McCullough (@RichardMcCullo1) August 22, 2020
— James Hi (@JimmyMackem) August 22, 2020
God it’s awful being a Sunderland fan ?
— General Mayhem (@Tony_young78) August 22, 2020
The worst player at the club is the fullback Conor MClaughan , very poor.
— The Baz. (@paulbasnett10) August 22, 2020