SO another manager goes through the exit door at the Stadium of Light, after building the fans’ hopes up but ultimately failing.
Gus Poyet deserves credit for keeping Sunderland up last season, and for the trip to Wembley, but like so many others before him, he couldn’t take Sunderland on to the next level, and his last few months saw his team in free fall.
Sunderland looked a genuinely decent, well-organised team at the end of the last campaign, as their performances at Old Trafford, the Etihad and Stamford Bridge proved, and the future looked bright.
Given that, Poyet had the chance to do something special this season, as he was in a strong position, and after the Great Escape, his stock couldn’t have been higher with the fans.
However, this season has never at any point taken off, with the only high point being the annual win at St James’s.
A string of draws that couldn’t be converted into wins, an embarrassing cup exit at Bradford, just two home wins, and the humiliations against Southampton and Villa, means the season has been one huge anti-climax.
In Poyet’s defence, he lost key members of his team that were never adequately replaced, as Sunderland’s summer recruitment was again called into question.
Season after season, Sunderland have had a scatter-gun approach to player recruitment, hoping signings work out rather than having a clear strategy or plan in place.
If it’s true that Poyet’s relationship with Lee Congerton had broken down completely, then that can’t have helped, as if two such powerful and influential figures at the club are not singing from the same hymn sheet, then what chance has the club got to function properly?
So Poyet and his staff leave as another regime moves in, but that’s been the story of Sunderland Football Club over the last few seasons.
There’s been false dawns and missed opportunities, with the odd highlight that keeps everyone going, and now it starts all over again under new boss Dick Advocaat.