Rowell Report: What a roller coaster year for Sunderland

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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AS TIME goes by, the year 2014 certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry by Sunderland fans.

It started and ended with games against Aston Villa, while what happened in between, you couldn’t really make up.

It was a rollercoaster 12 months, with great highs, but desperate lows, when relegation stared us in the face and looked inevitable.

But somehow Sunderland went on a winning run which defied logic and helped them beat the drop with a game to spare.

There was also a thrilling run to a Wembley cup final, knocking out Chelsea and Man United on the way, and although the team fell just short, the pride came back and Sunderland fans took over the capital for the weekend.

The year 2014 also saw two derby games, both at St James’s Park, that ended in two famous victories and it doesn’t get much better than that for a Sunderland fan.

There’s been plenty of low points as well, with the biggest of them for me being the 8-0 humiliation at Southampton that threatened to shatter the morale of the players and fans, but thankfully we have managed to rally since then.

Defeats at Spurs, Arsenal and Norwich were all depressingly bad too, as we’ve spent most of 2014 in or around the relegation zone.

Then of course there’s Steve Bruce and his Hull City team, who have burst our bubble so often this year in league and cup, and it’s impossible to explain how that keeps happening.

The best prediction of the year has got to be that gloriously optimistic banner at Stamford Bridge when all seemed lost, that reminded Gus Poyet that miracles can happen, before we actually went on to produce one.

Also, Lee Cattermole was named North East Player of the Year and 9,000 Sunderland fans celebrating at Old Trafford was something special that I’ll remember forever.

So a year of extremes which brought great joy and other times despair, and it all added up to another extraordinary chapter in Sunderland Football Club history.