NIALL QUINN has promised a full inquest at the end of the season into what has gone so badly wrong at Sunderland over the last few months.
The chairman has squirmed alongside owner Ellis Short in recent weeks and watched in horror as the Black Cats have once again blown up approaching the home straight.
And the slump is not something that will be allowed to go uninvestigated, even if Sunderland stay up comfortably or secure a top-half finish by the campaign’s end.
Seven defeats in eight games have not only banished hopes that the club might push for European qualification but genuinely raised the spectre of relegation as the club threatens to plunge into freefall.
And today Quinn told the Echo: “Once we get through this, we’ll look back to see what might have been done differently, how we might have improved things.
“And of course in the summer we’ll evaluate things such as the catastrophic injury problems we’ve had to contend with and look at our transfer policy collectively.
“Just like last season, we’ll sit down with Steve take stock and work out together how we improve on this season and how we continue the building process to make us stronger and better in the following season.”
Quinn is fully aware of how harmful the current spell has been, not just to the club’s league position and the players’ confidence but to the mood of the fans.
At a time when the chairman has been out on the road urging fans to turn their backs on pub TV on matchdays for the Stadium of Light and begging fans to renew season cards in order to take the club to the next level, the team has suddenly gone on comfortably its worst run of Premier League form since the final days of Roy Keane’s time in charge, when seven games a row were lost.
For the second season in a row, Sunderland have hit the skids at a time when the club most needs the feelgood factor to drive season card sales.
And the chairman has been anguished to see two massive 40,000 plus crowds responding to his call to return to the Stadium of Light in the last month, only to be rewarded with more morale-sapping defeats.
Sunderland fans are hurt and embarrassed by the way the club’s desperate form and performances have let them down but although Quinn understands their anger, he knows that now is not the time to allow things to unravel further.
And he wants everyone to stick together to secure the first priority – getting Sunderland over the finishing line.
He said: “I know that everyone inside the club, from top to bottom is trying to do their very best to help things turn around again and all that counts at the moment is that we concentrate on picking up points for our final few games.
“Everyone at the club is fully committed and focused on finishing as high up the Premier League table as we possibly can.
“And hopefully things will finally starting going our way over the next few weeks.”
H Sunderland Reserves are in action for the last time this season at Eppleton CW in Hetton tonight, when they take on Manchester City Reserves (7pm).
Sunderland can confirm a runners-up position behind Barclays Premier Reserve League Northern Group B winners Blackburn Rovers. Only third-placed Liverpool can overhaul Sunderland, who will be looking to go out on a high in the wake of a season which started poorly but finally picked up a head of steam.