Thank you for everything you have done for Sunderland, Gustavo. But it is now time to say goodbye to the club.
Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate everything you have done for us. The three derby victories. The trip to Wembley. The greatest escape.
Among the good times, however, we’ve also been beaten off of a team who had previously lost every single away game (including Burton Albion) that season. We’ve been knocked out of the FA Cup by a team two leagues lower than us (including a goal from a player who only managed to score one goal for Sunderland in 18 month) and we were decimated by Southampton 8-0 – a defeat that equals the club’s record for worst defeat in history.
You then decided to criticise the fans who pay good money to see your negative tactics for being angry with the way we play against a team in the bottom three, yet it wasn’t us who chased Fabio Borini for two months in full knowledge that he didn’t want to play for the club, then to panic and get Ricky Alvarez on loan, only to never play him until very recently.
It wasn’t us who bought players such as Jordi Gomez, Sebastian Coates and Will Buckley, who are not Premier League quality, never mind Sunderland quality.
We didn’t waste £10million on a holding midfielder (a position we had more than enough cover in) and then tried to re-invent him as a box-to-box midfielder, when he doesn’t have the pace or the attacking ability. It wasn’t us who decided to give a two-year extension to an ageing captain, or £60,000 a week to a striker based on 5 goals scored in the space of 10 days last year.
The only reason that the club isn’t in the bottom three and probably won’t get relegated is because of certain individuals standing out in the team.
Costel Pantilimon has been nothing short of outstanding in the Sunderland goal since his inclusion in the side, Seb Larsson hasn’t stopped running all season and before his injury, Lee Cattermole was a tremendous force in the Sunderland midfield.
We’ve also signed the 12th highest Premier League goalscorer since it’s inception, and the best service he’s getting in this team is a long ball now and then from our over-the-hill centre-backs, baring in mind he’s 5ft 6in-tall.
While we might not go down, we won’t go any further then 14th in the league, and that is because we lack the ambition that the likes of Southampton, Swansea, West Ham, etc, hold, and that is because of the manager, because of the players he plays in his system, and the formation he plays.
Yes, we may not be going down, but for how long will we survive? Three seasons in a row we’ve been dragged into a relegation battle and we’ve only survived because we’ve simply been less worse than the other teams. But what happens when we get overtaken by everyone, to the point where we’re the only team in the league without ambition and end up relegated to the Championship?
We are grateful and thank you for everything you have done for us, but now it’s time to hang up your neck warmer and navy coat and call it a day at Sunderland Association Football Club.
• This article was sent into the Echo by a reader for our new Black Cats eight-page supplement, titled The Roar! - which will be in the paper every Wednesday. To get involved, send your articles by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook and on Twitter. We’ll put them online and the best ones will be published in the paper.