Charlie Methven's message to Sunderland fans ahead of League One promotion run-in
Executive director Charlie Methven has urged Sunderland fans to stick with their side during the promotion run-in.
The Black Cats have 15 games left in League One this season, starting with tonight's home clash against Gillingham at the Stadium of Light.
Jack Ross' side have won just one of their last five league games, a run which has seem them slip to fourth in the table and six points adrift off the automatic promotion places.
Yet Methven believes the club are still on track, and is confident they can meet the targets which were set out in the summer.
"A lot of change has happened at the club since Stewart (Donald) and I arrived, but entering the business end of the season, we are in a position where all our initial targets can be achieved," said Methven ahead of the clash with the Gills.
"The challenge that faced us when we first took over was multi-faceted, very large and very urgent. It wasn’t as easy as simply coming into a club which had been well run on the business side but had challenges on the playing side.
"Instead, we came into a club where every element of it, with the possible exception of the academy, was in a state of chaos, flux, or manic perpetual underachievement. With that in mind, we set realistic targets for our first 12 months.
"On the pitch, we needed to provide a competitive team that mirrored the hard-working nature of the city, a team that would be worthy of wearing the shirt, and one that represents the community and what it stands for.
"I believe we have achieved that, and as a result we’re on course to finish inside the top six, which is the minimum we set out to do at the start of the season."
Despite Sunderland's recent dip in form, Methven believes the club have come a long way in a short space of time.
Attendances have risen since the change of ownership, yet Methven knows it's results that really count.
"Of course, we would all like to avoid any last-minute play-off nerves and achieve automatic promotion via a place in the top two, but considering how far we have come in a short space of time, that would see us surpass our initial goals," he added.
"We also set other targets, one of which was to beat the all-time average attendance record in League One, which is no mean feat considering the third tier has been going for over 100 years.
"A collection of massive clubs have played in the division, and after more than a century of ups and downs, Manchester City currently hold a record of 28,200.
"As it stands, our average attendance is over 31,000, so we’re not only well on our way to shattering that record, but we’re closing in on an average attendance that may never be surpassed by any club, and I mean any club.
"However, it’s important we remind ourselves that, just like on the playing side, we haven’t achieved anything yet, and nobody can realise our potential but ourselves.
Methven has also thanked Sunderland's fans for their continued support this season and hopes they can make a difference during the promotion run-in.
"On behalf of everyone at the club, thank you for your continued efforts throughout the season, and thank you for getting on board with what we’re trying to achieve," added Methven
"Thanks to your efforts, we’re heading into the final 15 games in a position where we can achieve all that we set out to back in May.
"But we aren’t there yet, and what we need now is one final collective effort.
"Whatever you’ve got left, and whatever you can do to show your support in these final matches, please bring it to the table. We will only do this together."