David Jones: How Sky struggled with SAFC noise and why Ellis Short is at crossroads now

The Sky Sports cameras capture Sam Allardyce's celebrations after the Everton win
The Sky Sports cameras capture Sam Allardyce's celebrations after the Everton win
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So what was all the fuss about?

We should have known there was nothing to worry about; we should have realised that when it came to the crunch the character of our team would come to the fore.

We should have believed that Sam Allardyce would have steered us from the murkiest of waters.

In truth most of us did, but there were just one or two results when it started to get serious which had us wondering: the goalless draw at home to West Brom, the wobbly performance away at Stoke.

But ending the season losing just one of the last 11 tells its own story; Sunderland just had too much for the drop.

The celebrations last Wednesday at the Stadium of Light were just fantastic and wonderful to be involved with even though I must confess it made our job on Sky Sports near impossible!

When we arrived pitchside with Niall Quinn and Jamie Carragher at the end of the game, it was hard to hear what instructions were coming from our producer and director parked in the trucks outside.

But I saw Jermain Defoe, so I couldn’t think of anything better to do than to put a microphone in front of him: he has been an absolute revelation for Sunderland this season.

And then we had to wait for Sam while he enjoyed his own well deserved moment of celebration with the adoring fans.

Yet again, he spoke brilliantly when he finally delivered his post match verdict: considered, thoughtful and with a message for club and owner moving forward. It made for good TV.

So many people afterwards wanted to ask me what it was like presenting a game of that magnitude in Sunderland whilst trying to maintain a professional balance.

The truth is it wasn’t a problem at all.

The week building up to the game had seen me go from Leicester’s title celebration at the King Power on the Saturday to West Ham’s emotional farewell to Upton Park on the Tuesday.

On Wednesday night at the Stadium of Light I had a job to do, it just happened to be my team involved.

I was thrilled the team put on a show in front of the cameras and just as pleased that the stadium was full and bouncing.

I’ve written before about how important it is for live games at Sunderland to act as a showcase for our passion and our support and no one could have been left in any doubt after that.

It was only really as a tired Sky Sports crew gathered for a late beer that night that the enormity of what Sunderland had achieved really started to sink in.

For our club it could have been catastrophic had it gone the other way.

After the fans had finally departed on Wednesday night Ellis Short walked along the touchline, bottle in hand, gazing up at the empty stands.

He seemed dazed and drained but was no doubt contemplating how lucky he was to still be in charge of a Premier League club which will earn £100m next season; no doubt he was also considering how lucky he was that Sam agreed to come to the rescue.

Just like 12 months ago we heard the right noises coming out of the club once safety had been secured: “We must never be in this position again”, is becoming a familiar season postscript.

But after four straight campaigns ending with fewer than 40 points, it’s understandable why we should have our doubts.

The coming days and weeks are arguably the most important of Short’s reign.

Sunderland are at a crossroads – stand still and I can guarantee we’ll be back here having the same conversation in May 2017.

Now is the time for Short to trust in a manager who has won our faith and with the right backing, I firmly believe, can lead this club back into the top 10 of English football.

There is still much to be done and it won’t come cheap but the right investment now on quality players can keep us from another season of pain.