Wise Men Say: No easy answer to the reality of Sunderland's troubles
If only it was as simple as turning on Football Manager to sort out Sunderland's problems.
The Black Cats’ continous flirtation with relegation from the top flight is a drain on both the club and their loyal supporters.
The repetitive cycle of disappointment, and the year upon year of dogfights at the wrong end of the table, are a taint that the Wearsiders just can’t seem to rid themselves of.
If anything, it would appear the only way to end it at the minute is the dreaded drop, and that brings with it a whole new set of problems and concerns.
I’ve heard the argument that relegation would allow us to clear the decks and rebuild, come back stronger even.
You could see why that might appeal to some, but is it really that easy?
If it was, surely Nottingham Forest, Birmingham, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, to name but a few, would have returned to the Premier League by now.
In a nutshell, and simplifying things greatly, Sunderland’s problems are thus ... no money, inability to add free signings due to financial fair play rules, a poor squad and a host of injuries.
It doesn’t make great reading, and if you had the misfortune to see the first half against Stoke City on Saturday, it doesn’t make great viewing.
But what do we do?
As supporters, do we just suck it up and keep putting ourselves through the misery?
Both sides of that argument have valid points.
For me personally, well, I guess, I’ll keep letting my heart rule my head.
It may not be great value, it may ruin your weekend and leaving you either angry, inconsolable, terribly upset, various other negative emotions or all of the above.
But I have had some of the greatest moments of my life following Sunderland with friends and family, and you have to take the rough with the smooth, although it’s been mostly rough of late.
David Moyes has been dealt a bad hand, but he’s also made mistakes as well.
I’m not a huge fan of Moyes, but neither am I a huge detractor. Possibly, maybe I’m just indifferent.
But to those who want rid, I’d simply point out that continous parting ways with managers means we invariably have to pay them off, something which only deepens our financial woes.
Similarly with Ellis Short.
I can understand fans’ frustrations with the owner, but it would appear, despite having tentatively looked for someone to buy him out, potential suitors haven’t exactly been knocking the door down to take it off his hands.
What do we need?
Well, possibly obscenely rich new owners might be a start, but then we also need to stop making bad signings/signing people we can later sell on for a profit, bring in a sustainable and substantial revenue stream and to remove that bottom-of-the-table taint that currently clings to us.
All of those things are a huge ask, but then Sunderland and easy are rarely bedfellows.
If it was Football Manager, of course, we could turn it off and start again.
The reality, though, is it might get worse before it gets better.
* The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from David Moyes. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes