The 2011-12 season saw a side which featured the likes of Simon Mignolet, Stéphane Sessègnon, Nicklas Bendtner and James McClean finish 13th in the top flight.
Now, ten seasons later, we’re approaching the midway point of the 2021-22 season and the club are fifth in League 1 and once again chasing promotion to the Championship.
But where will Sunderland be in another ten years times? Although we have no way of knowing, we simulated ten years into the future with the latest edition of Football Manager to get an idea of how things could look.
FM 22, which was released last month, is the latest edition of the popular football management simulation game has been wildly popular since it’s initial release in 1992 and is now played by football fans and professional players alike.
‘FM’ is also used as a player database by football clubs due to their worldwide scouting network of around 1,300 scouts which developers use to ensure full accuracy across the game.
Here is how our simulation saw the next ten seasons play out for Sunderland:
1. 2021/22 season
Sunderland finished fifth in the league table but lost to MK Dons in the play-off semi finals. Winning the Papa John's Trophy was a consolation but it would be the only piece of silverware they picked up during our simulation. Lee Johnson. Ron-Thorben Hoffmann won the Player of the Season award and Aiden O'Brien was top scorer with 10.
Photo: Lewis Storey
2. 2022/23 season
Sunderland finished seventh in League 1 and missed out on a play-off spot on the final day of the season after losing 2-1 at home to Plymouth, who took six place as a result. Tyler Smith was a £550,000 signing from Hull City and finished as top scorer with 11
Photo: Ryan Pierse
3. 2023/24 season
The downward trajectory continued with a ninth place League 1 finish and Lee Johnson was sacked in January after six games without a win. Former Newcastle United and Middlesbrough winger Sammy Ameobi (pictured) was a summer signing who won the player of the season award
Photo: James Chance
4. 2024/25 season
Ian Holloway was the man who replaced Johnson for the end of the previous season and he managed to get them back on the right track with a fourth place finish. They beat Bradford City in the play-off semi finals but lost 1-0 to Burton Albion at Wembley in the final
Photo: George Wood