HINDSIGHT is a wonderful thing but Sunderland fans were honest enough after the fact to admit that the club’s Great Escape took the overwhelming majority of them by surprise.
Asked in the Big Sunderland Survey, did they think the Great Escape was on before the last six games - only one person in nine reckoned they had kept the faith against all odds.
After a run of five successive defeats had left Sunderland rock bottom, Gus Poyet had to take his team to the Etihad and up against the formidable force of Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City.
The Black Cats took a draw from that game to set up a tumultuous run of unlikely results leading to their stunning survival.
The draw against City – that Sunderland came within minutes of winning - was followed by consecutive wins over Chelsea, Cardiff City, Manchester United and West Brom to ensure the most unlikely of survivals.
But some of the most loyal fans in football admitted that they had all but given up hope before that trip to Manchester and the game against the Blues.
That stunning Great Escape, coupled with Sunderland’s trip to Wembley, was probably the root cause of many Sunderland fans giving the season the thumbs up in terms of overall approval.
More than 70 per cent of fans surveyed rated this season as ‘One of the best’, while intriguingly more than 20 per cent went for the complete opposite end of the spectrum and rated it one of the worst.