Stephen Elliott: Securing a league and cup double would represent the biggest turnaround in Sunderland's proud history

Sunday was a day when anybody who has any association or affiliation with Sunderland football club could sit back and finally enjoy that feeling of success in the most famous stadium in the world.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 7:00 am

I did expect Sunderland to win the game but come kick-off those nerves were still there. Thankfully it proved to be a glorious afternoon.

It may not have been the most emphatic of performances, in fact it was pretty poor by the recent standards set by the team but when Lynden Gooch lifted that ball into the net that did not matter one iota.

Sunderland fans have endured a lot of pain inside the old Twin Towers and more recently under the arch and it has left some really painful scars in most. This victory against Tranmere Rovers has put a lot of demons to bed and for that we should all rejoice.

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Sunderland AFC players lift the Papa John’s Trophy. Picture by FRANK REID

On the game itself, what pleased me most was that feeling of getting the job at hand ‘done’ again.

Tranmere didn’t make things easy as you would expect in a cup final but that professionalism and ruthlessness that Lee Johnson has instilled into this squad was once again evident on the pitch.

We all know there is a lot of individual quality in the side right now that can be sprung into action at any given moment.

The Aiden McGeady pass and Gooch finish was a prime example of that quality and it shows if Sunderland do not concede goals then the likelihood is that they are going to win more games than not.

Gooch, who had a quiet afternoon, is a reliable player in front of goal and will now go down in the history books as scoring a Wembley winner for the club. I’m delighted for him as he has been through a lot since his rise into the first team.

The ruthlessness required to win things and be successful as a squad was personified by the likes of Luke O’Nien, who again was immense, Max Power and Conor McLaughlin who put their bodies on the line to stop the opposition scoring all through the game.

This sends out the message that this team will not be beaten at any cost and that mentality makes it very difficult for other teams.

Lee Burge again stood tall when required and he was required a bit on Sunday.

The bonus of winning this cup should be put to bed now and the main job of getting out of this division has to be all these players think of over the next couple of months.

Results went in Sunderland’s favour on Saturday and the lads have to use the momentum of this recent run of games to push for a top two finish. I don’t see any team that can get near Sunderland in terms of quality at the moment.

There is a high possibility that the League One trophy could be added to this Football League trophy. If that is the case you would have to say it would go down as one of the biggest turnarounds in Sunderland’s history.

Again, perhaps I’m getting carried away, but we have just won at Wembley so surely I’m allowed!

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