Wise Men Say: This must be the summer Sunderland get it right
The celebration is over, let the inquest begin.
There are those who will mock the suggestion that finishing 17th in a race of 20 is anything to celebrate.
There will be those who sneer at and deride supporters who go into party mode having narrowly avoided relegation for yet another year.
But there will be those who gladly give anything to swap places with us and secure another year among English football’s elite and earn the mega millions such status brings.
For many, finishing 17th and spending another year as relegation cannon fodder is hardly something to shout from the rafters about.
But then being a Sunderland fan was never about jumping on the glory trail (at least not in my lifetime).
If, as a fan, you were in it for the cups, the year after year of success then let’s face it the Black Cats would be a poor choice.
But being a Sunderland supporter is about more than that.
Like many clubs outside of the giants of the game, becoming a follower of the Wearsiders is more of a calling than a conscientious decision.
And so it should be, otherwise we could all go out and buy Barcelona shirts and the beautiful game would die on its behind.
Having to accept mere Premier League survival as a cause for celebration may seem like a woeful return to some sets of supporters.
And maybe they’re right, but those of us old enough and unfortunate enough to remember Third Division football, it’s not something to be sniggered or sneered at.
Having said all of that of course, it doesn’t mean that we as Sunderland fans don’t crave success.
The scenes in London when we reached the League Cup final proved the impact that even a sniff of success could have on our beloved club and fans.
And that brings us back to the matter at hand – another end of season unquestioned the Herald of yet another brave new dawn.
Once we’ve got all of the ‘this must never happen again’ and ‘root and branch review’s stuff out of the way, let’s find a way to overcome the obstacle of Financial Fair Play and finally have the massive clear out that is required.
Managers have come and managers have gone, but to a certain extent the same core of relegation embattled players have remained.
And of those who have moved on we haven’t replaced them with anything better and sometimes we replaced them with worse.
January proved that a successful transfer window can have a huge impact on the club’s fortunes.
And Sunderland must find a way to give Sam Allardyce the war chest he requires to bring about a major overhaul of the squad.
Looking around and saying well he can stay because he’ll be a good squad player isn’t enough.
For me, that kind of thinking has helped to keep us in a continuous cycle of relegation battleship recent seasons.
There are massive decisions to make again this summer and as we seem to say year upon year, we really must get it right.
Yes, we’ll need players who are up for another tough fight, but let’s also have players who can excite.
Let’s have players who can deliver something more than another battle against the drop.
That maybe something to truly celebrate.