Paul Luke: Sunderland look like a team again as they battle survival

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone celebrates
Sunderland defender Lamine Kone celebrates
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What an utterly crackers decade this has been for the club and everyone who follows it!

Even by modern-day standards of panic buying, billionaire investment and boom and bust gambling in boardrooms, we've had an eventful 10 years of Premier League existence.

The fact that the quality of the football served up in front of us has been, for the most part, nowhere near as unpredictable or entertaining as events off the field is a continuing disappointment for those of us who believed again from the moment Niall Quinn brought the Roy Keane and Drumaville consortium on board and asked us to join him for a "magic carpet

ride" to the Premiership.

As always seems the case at this time of the season, we are suddenly flooded with optimism and hope as our latest new manager seeks to stamp his brand onto our club – a club that had a very distinct identity and plan when it came up in 2006, but which has since lurched from one failed business model to the next in a desperate attempt to remain afloat.

The last two home games against the Manchester giants have been the most enjoyable two matches I have been to for a long time, and it isn’t rocket science as to why.

In both games, the lads looked like a team who wanted to play for each other, who cared, who had a plan and who took the game to their star-studded opponents.

I found myself looking around thinking 'It CAN be like this again, we’re not done yet!'

I would like to see the new manager stay at the club and build something for a few years.

It just might happen, but with the club's track record over the last decade you wouldn't bet against someone who is a polar opposite – Diego Maradona, Derren Brown, Stephen Hawking – being in charge in 12 months as we go into the last 12 games needing to win half of them to finish in our usual position of 17th.

Maybe, just maybe, we will find mid-table anonymity boring after experiencing so many thrills by escaping the drop each year, but it is a dullness we would all love to embrace I’m sure.

Just for a breather as much as anything else.