The one thing missing from Kyril Louis-Dreyfus' Sunderland tenure - which could soon be rectified
The latest comments from the EFL on the return of fans will no doubt have been been encouraging for Sunderland fans.
Locked out of the Stadium of Light for over a year, there is now a real glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
And for Sunderland supporters, that date can’t come quick enough.
The feel-good factor is well and truly back on Wearside with a 12-game unbeaten run lifting spirits – and hopes of a return to the Championship are arguably higher than they had ever been since the club’s drop into the third tier.
There’s been no shortage of memorable moments in the league and a first Wembley win since 1973 to boot, too.
But while the on-field results have no doubt played their part in the upbeat mood around the Black Cats, it’s the off-field changes which have had a profound impact on supporters.
A new owner, a revitalised structure and a desire to rebuild Sunderland as a footballing powerhouse has renewed hope – not just in the short-term, but the long-term too.
Yet there has been a key component missing throughout Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ time in charge of the club.
For all there have been some superb moments in recent weeks, they haven’t been the same without the fans in place.
It’s an easy thing to say, but it is of course true.
You can only imagine the roar that would have greeted Kyril Louis-Dreyfus the first time he face was spotted at the Stadium of Light. The hugs of joy and tears that would have ensured when the full-time whistle blew at Wembley. And the jeers at the opposition bench as Max Power fired home a third against Oxford United.
This is a great time to be a Sunderland fan, but it will undoubtedly be even greater once supporters are allowed to return to the Stadium of Light.
Hopefully, that will be in August as the EFL have suggested. And hopefully, it will be to watch a Championship club.