Sunderland fans are guilty of failing to recognise a great opportunity when it presents itself.
After being the worst team in the Premier League last season and now the very worst in the Championship, looking for positives might be difficult for them at this moment in time.
However, they undoubtedly are they, if you look hard enough.
Maybe a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees…?
Bear with me and I will explain.
On the football side, I would agree that there is nothing whatsoever for them be happy about.
As a Newcastle fan, I record that Championship show on Channel 5 each Saturday and fast forward through.
As well as seeing what the likes of Mitrovic and Colback are doing at their loan clubs, naturally I take an interest in the Mackems as well.
They are truly woeful and as our local rivals, it is funny what they are being subjected to after we gifted them all that ‘6 in a row’ to cling onto, whilst their club was in reality falling apart.
However, I think if Sunderland fans look at the bigger picture, they would be able to see a longer-term where they could have a club to be proud of.
Judging by what they say on social media and message boards etc, it is clear that Sunderland fans blame Ellis Short for pretty much everything, a bit like Newcastle fans, they want the club to run in a far better way but feel powerless to influence that.
This is where opportunity comes into it.
Sunderland fans have a club that is now basically worthless, Ellis Short is willing to give it away if new owners take on some of the debts, he is desperate to get out and will surely do anything to help that happen.
Sunderland fans have never been in a more powerful position than now, their club needs them if they are ever going to bounce back.
The big golden opportunity Sunderland fans now have, is that it is feasible for them to play a major part in a new ownership structure at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland football club will almost certainly never be worth so little, so why can’t/don’t local business people, in partnership with the supporters, buy the club off Ellis Short?
Nobody pretends that it would be easy to put together but they will surely never have a better chance to have real influence at their club.
Swansea arrived in the Premier League with their club jointly owned by local business people, alongside the fans who owned 20%, this a result of them taking over when the club was on its knees.
I would love this to happen to Newcastle United, though without the need to drop like a stone towards the third tier.
A protection against never again having a Mike Ashley (or Ellis Short…) able to wreck our hopes and ambitions, in the pursuit of his own agenda.
Ordinary Sunderland fans, in my opinion, could easily be capable of earning 20% (or more) of their club, alongside richer and more high profile fans/business people.
There are all kinds of ways and means of helping fans to buy into the ownership of a club and not necessarily a case of putting all the cash in up front.
To give the club stability after a fan/local business takeover, supporters could be asked to sign up to schemes whereby they would agree to a binding agreement where they’d get a season ticket for the next three or five years, plus an extra payment each month could then pay for their stake/share in owning their club.
I am of course only bothered about Newcastle being successful on the pitch but with the Premier League TV deals now having peaked and revenue per match now going down in the latest UK rights contracts, clubs in the future will be looking once more towards a bigger reliance on fans directly for cash/support.
It won’t happen overnight but the extra cash fans directly and indirectly bring will be more valued than it is now.
It would be great to think one day that the Premier League was run on similar lines to the Bundesliga, where fans are the major shareholders and clubs work in partnership with them.