Sunderland fans have delivered their verdict on the squad that delivered one of the worst seasons in recent memory, with Jordan Pickford one of the few to emerge with any real credit.
The stopper, now set for a summer switch to Everton, was voted both player of the season and young player of the season in emphatic fashion.
The Echo’s annual survey saw almost 70% of those polled vote for Pickford, with Jermain Defoe’s stock perhaps falling after a difficult end to the season when the goals finally dried up for the Black Cats’ talisman.
Pickford’s rise was one of the few positives for the Stadium of Light faithful, the 23-year-old delivering some electric rearguard displays and earning his first England call-up.
Even in the acrimonious scenes following Sunderland’s relegation, Pickford was serenaded by his home support, who sang ‘one of our own’ throughout the campaign.
Didier Ndong was comfortably voted as the signing of the season with almost 60% of the vote but elsewhere, the Black Cats squad frustrated, with Adnan Januzaj voted by the worst signing and the biggest disappointment. 33% felt he was the worst signing and 37% the biggest disappointment.
Lamine Kone and Fabio Borini’s form also dropped well below the level they set in the great escape under Sam Allardyce the previous season and were a source of major disappointment among fans.
Kone’s cult hero status collapsed spectacularly after he handed in a transfer request early in the season, Everton seeing an £18 million bid rejected. The Black Cats have precious little hope of landing such a fee after an indifferent campaign, but fans are still eager to see him move on.
Fans are also keen to see Borini and especially Jeremain Lens moved on, the latter repeatedly expressing his desire to make his loan switch to Turkey permanent in public.
Centre-half Papy Djilobodji was voted the second worst signing of the season, with Younes Kaboul’s departure casting a shadow over Sunderland’s season. The Frenchman’s leadership skills were badly missed and Djilobodji struggled to cope with the movement and awareness of Premiership striker. He was one of Moyes’ key signings but did not play in the closing months of the season, his last appearance came against West Brom, retrospectively banned for lashing out at midfielder Darren Fletcher.
The Crystal Palace win was a rare high in the season, Sunderland securing a thumping 4-0 win over former Black Cats Sam Allardyce and Patrick van Aanholt after an extraordinary surge in the closing stages of the first half.
That was most fan's highlight of the season, with Jermain Defoe’s superb brace also voted as the goal of the season.
That the transfer windows were voted as the lowlight of the season says much about what an underwhelming campaign this was for fans.
Sunderland failed to add any meaningful firepower in January despite Victor Anichebe picking up a serious injury, with the failure to sign Leonardo Ulloa on deadline day a source of frustration and deflation.