Sunderland fans now find summer 2016 a very distant memory.
Lying there on Seaburn beach, dreaming of Premier League glory with Fat Sam and laughing at the plight of Newcastle United, cast adrift with a Champions League winning manager who wouldn’t have a clue how to manage in the second tier…
Newcastle fans responded the only way they knew how, buying more season tickets for the Championship campaign before a ball had been kicked than had been sold for the 2015/16 Premier League season and with a 51,000+ average, coming close to beating their own second tier attendance record set seven decades ago.
Whether this was blind devotion, faith in Rafa Benitez, or a combination of the two, together we helped Newcastle back into the Premier League as champions.
It is today the longest day of 2017 and judging by the reaction of Sunderland fans on Wednesday morning, they are seemingly set for one of their longest ever seasons!
The Mackems have this morning found out when they are playing the big games against Burton, Brentford, Millwall and Bolton and they are running scared.
The second best league kicks off six weeks on Friday (for Sunderland fans) and they have no manager, no owner who wants to be there, no decent players with Defoe and Pickford deserting, no new signings and according to many Sunderland fans…no hope!
‘‘To be honest, I found myself looking down the whole fixture list saying “that’ll be a tough game”
Not an easy league for a club in our position.’
‘Derby (h) – opening night, Friday on TV
Sheffield Wednesday (a)
3 of the promotion favourites.’
‘This makes it even more imperative that we get sorted very, very soon.
We are already miles behind. Those four games could well spell 0 points. Get off to a bad start and the whole vibe will be horrendous.’
‘Very tough start.
Momentum and confidence is so important, even more so for a relegated side. The new man is going to have a hell of a job on his hands.
We’ll also have a lot of squad building to do at that stage in the window you’d imagine.
We’re definitely up against it but since we don’t know who’ll own us, who’ll be managing us or who’ll be playing for us it’s pretty impossible to make predictions at this stage.’
‘Momentum and confidence is massive. Just look at Leicester’s league winning season.’
‘And so it begins.
Doom and gloom.’
‘We lost first four games last time we were in this league and ended up winning it.’
‘I’d be happy with anything over 20th. Can’t even get a bloody manager in let alone win a football game.’
‘Remember we lost all 5 opening games in 06/07 season, but we need this takeover and manager asap….’
‘Going through entire season its riddles with tricky home games n aways where the opponents will be well up for it.
Folk thinking we’ll find it easy it should brace themselves, gave too much headstart/preparation away again.’
‘We shouldn’t fear anyone in this league particularly at home.
I normally go to the first home game but Friday might be difficult.’
‘It’s properly got me excited!!’
‘Bring it on man. Some excellent games to look forward to.’
‘We have no manager or owner. At this stage. Any game will be tough.’
‘There’s 6 teams favoured ahead of us for promotion and we play 3 of them in the first 4 games!
With 24 teams in the league it’s a very tough start compared to what we could have got.’
‘It looks a tough start, but I’ll re-evaluate once we have a manager and a playing squad in place. As it stands, I’d expect us to finish no better than mid-table with the current squad.’
‘Good fixtures – will focus everyone and even if we start slow we are getting tough games out of the way anyway.’
‘But if the team get off to a losing start, morale will be effected so when we play the “easy” games heads are down.’
‘They all look tough to me.’
‘Just noticed the league table on safc.com is still the premier league.’