The stench of death is hanging around Stadium of Light and there seems no saviour this time

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Not for the first time in my life, the stench of death is hanging around the Stadium of Light.

The club has reached lows since my birth; relegation to the third tier, the 15 and 19 point seasons, dismal performances under the management of luminaries such as Terry Butcher and Mick Buxton, and the mockery made of a once great institution by the self-serving egotist, Paolo Di Canio.

Rigor mortis has threatened to settle in over the years, but there’s always been a saviour; a Niall Quinn, Peter Reid or Roy Keane to lift the club out of a quagmire.

On this occasion, despite the best efforts of the largely blameless Chris Coleman, Sunderland look doomed to a second stint in what is now called League One.

He’s been handed a squad bereft of experience, enthusiasm, bottle, talent and apparently any real interest in the club they represent.

Where Coleman seems to get what Sunderland AFC means to people from the city and region, those players, its CEO and certainly its owner, appear to be serving their own motives.

There’s only so much Coleman can do and, while he has undoubtedly made mistakes, he is one of the few shining lights left at the club.

Were he to walk away tomorrow, he’d not be short of offers, while we’d struggle to find anyone willing to touch the poisoned chalice.

What this club needs now, is new impetus from the top.

Who knows what the owner is doing in his attempts to sell the club? We are left to wonder whether he is actively trying to sell; up until the revelation of the lowered price tag, the club was, as far as most of us aware, off the market.

In Short’s place, we’re not asking for billions, just someone, or some people, who care enough to manage the club stably and in a manner that indicates they understand the sport and the club.

Sunderland were recently humbled by Brentford on home soil, so let’s take them as an example.

They’re a much smaller club, apparently well run, and with a squad of players who play attacking, entertaining football.

They are likely to finish somewhere in the middle of the Championship table. We’d take that a million times over on Wearside. All our fans need is a glimmer of hope, something to hold onto.

Cast your minds back to March 2014, Wembley, and a spirited defeat at the hands of one of the country’s finest sides, Manchester City, a club that was on its knees not so long ago, playing in the division we’re surely set to bless with our presence next season.

For us, that day was a one off, it was special. Over 20 years since our last cup final, this was many fans’ first experience of anything like it. Sadly, it may well be their last.

It was a symbolic day, one that said more about Sunderland AFC than a half empty Stadium of Light on any given Championship weekend does.

Without change at the top, we’ll not see another day like it. Fans will stay away, and understandably so. They’ve been treated with contempt.

The sad truth is, the most we can hope for in the short term is survival (unlikely) or a swift return to the Championship under new leadership next season.

Ultimately, until Short, Bain and whoever else is running our club are gone, the bottom might be even lower than we dare imagine.

The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from Chris Coleman. You can stream it direct from or subscribe to it on iTunes