DESPITE a season spent almost entirely entrenched in the bottom three of the Premier League, fans are optimistic about the future for Sunderland Football Club.
Our survey showed that very few think the club are likely to be relegated next season, while most people ticked the box suggesting the club would finish in the top half of the division.
It was a close-run thing though, with almost as many supporters believing that the Black Cats would finish just outside the relegation zone.
But, in total, more than 90 per cent of fans thought Sunderland would finish outside of Europe but also outside the bottom three.
Four people who replied to our survey suggested Sunderland would finish in a Champions League position.
Which is nice.
Carrie Gibson, of Lambton Street, Sunderland, thought Europe was an option.
“I think we’ll have a much better start next season,” she said.
Sharing her sunny outlook was Malcolm Pearson, of Malvern Wells, who pointed out: “Optimism is important – even if it is blind!”
“Top 10,” said Dave Knightley, of Sunderland. “But only if we buy quality over quantity.”
Gerard Young, of East Yorkshire, said: “Top 10 if a goalscorer and midfielder are signed.”
Josh Bewick, of Pallion, reflected the views of many when he said: “I’m not expecting anything major, but a low position in the top 10 would be brilliant.
“Anything but a season-long relegation scrap is progress.”
Less optimistic was New Zealand-based Dave Herdman, who suggested a finish just above the relegation zone: “We are likely to see a number of recruits from the bargain basement area and I feel it will take them time to fit in,” he said.
“I do not expect next season to be a memorable one but the next one could be much improved.”
Syd Hutchinson, of Coxhoe, commented: “With the players leaving and the shortage of cash, I don’t see much chance of us breaking this depressing cycle really.”
Michael Hall, of Silksworth, added simply: “I don’t think I can take another relegation dogfight,” and plumped for a top 10 finish.