Revealed! Sunderland transfer budget hopes, number of signings needed and key areas to strengthen
Sunderland's new owners are being urged to splash the cash with eight out of 10 fans hoping to see Â£5million plus spent in a bid to win automatic promotion.
And fans believe at least 10 new signings must arrive at the Stadium of Light this summer.
Today we can reveal the final results of our annual Big Sunderland AFC survey, which has been canvassing opinion on all things red and white.
It has been a dramatic week at the club with Stewart Donald’s takeover getting the green light, chief executive Martin Bain being made redundant and Jack Ross appointed manager.
The former St Mirren chief will be tasked with securing automatic promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt after the club suffered back-to-back relegations.
Today we examine the fans’ expectations ahead of the League One campaign - and more than half of supporters expect automatic promotion.
In total, 28 per cent of supporters believe Ross will lead the club to an automatic promotion slot, with a further 26 per cent tipping Sunderland to be crowned outright champions.
A fifth of the fans that took part in our survey believe the Black Cats will only reach the League One play-offs, with 13 per cent tipping them for a top half finish.
In terms of how much cash fans think will have to be spent to achieve the aim of promotion, 80 per cent want to see Donald & Co spend £5million plus on the squad.
Just under 18 per cent feel between £1million and £3million will prove enough for the squad to achieve its aims in 2018-19.
Sunderland, under former owner Ellis Short, spent just £1.25million on transfers last summer with the club ending the season bottom of the Championship and relegated to the third tier.
This summer, half of fans want to see Ross sign between six and 10 new players with 30 per cent going even further and calling for 11 to 15 new arrivals on Wearside before the season starts in early August.
The squad returns to pre-season training at the Academy of Light on June 22 and fans are clear which two areas need strengthening the most - in goal and defence.
It was no surprise to see 38 per cent of fans call for the goalkeeping department to be strengthened after Robbin Ruiter, Jason Steele and loanee Lee Camp all flopped last season.
Sunderland also ‘boasted’ the second-worst defence in the Championship last term, shipping 80 goals. That is another key area to strengthen, while 17 per cent of fans wanted to see the striking department bolstered.
And finally, fans were clear what kind of players they want to see Ross and the club’s recruitment team bring in; young, hungry players winning 42 per cent of the vote.
A fifth wanted to see players with League One experience, while a similar number wanted to see more goals added to the side.
It’s been a dramatic couple of weeks on Wearside and the job of rebuilding and reshaping the squad is the next big priority for the club’s new owners.