Wise Men Say: Are Sunderland actually progressing this season?
Forty-nine-thousand shiny new seats. Placed, for the most part, by the hard-working hands of devoted Sunderland fans.
They gave the Stadium of Light a much-needed injection of vibrance, as like matters on the pitch, years of neglect had seen them fade from their previous glory.They looked good on Saturday during the 1-1 FA Cup draw with Gillingham. There was plenty of them to admire, and much time to do so after yet another demoralising 90 minutes.Perhaps one caught Jon McLaughlin’s eye shortly after half-time as he fumbled Olly Lee’s shot into the back of his own net. Or maybe the ever-growing uncertainty surrounding his future at the club, one which has been rumbling on since August, played some part.It’s not difficult to uncover the catalyst of the Scottish stopper’s patchy run of form. Talks over a new deal began, then, according to the custodian, went quiet. It’s almost as if humans don’t react well to uncertainty.As 8,000 supporters voiced their disgruntlement to this week’s serving of dross, their calls fell on deaf ears. The majority shareholder and chairman of the club absent, much like the transparency he once championed when things looked rosy.Alleged abuse online is his reasoning for stepping into the shadows, leaving Charlie Methven as the face of the club.But the not-so-funny thing is, we’ve seen this before, and recently, tooAn owner reluctant to show his face. A front man whose role is thankless but made even more so by his own comments. Ellis Short and Martin Bain, rightly, were called out for similar actions. Yet Donald and Methven are seen as saviours.That's despite, since they took over, Sunderland having recorded their worst ever finish and being on course to break that record again, having sacked another manager, provided an uninspiring replacement, and instilled a winning-second mentality across the senior academy. That’s not progression, it’s regression.And it typifies every false hope supporters have been fed since the summer of 2018. Oh, actually, that’s not strictly true. We do have 49,000 new seats.I take it all back.