Wise Men Say: Fingers crossed for a fairytale ending to Sunderland’s run-in

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If Leicester City’s Premier League triumph is like a Disney fairytale, then Sunderland’s trials and tribulations must be like The Champ.

For those of you non-plussed at the reference, The Champ is a 1979 film starring Jon Voight as a boxer.

It’s no Rocky, rags to riches tale (that’s probably more Leicester as well).

No, instead it’s more like a story of a fighter getting back in the ring after rolling with one too many punches.

I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but it will leave you in tears (now that’s more like Sunderland!).

My point is that this end-of-season run-in feels like watching some sort of rerun of The Champ.

The seemingly endless repeat of relegation battle after relegation battle has to take its toll eventually.

It’s like rolling with those punches, sooner or later one is going to connect and leave you floored.

I’m coming over all tearful just at the thought.

Of course, I’m hoping that I’m wrong, but it really feels that this battle against the drop is going to be one scrap too far.

Whatever happens, there will no doubt be another one of those root and branch reviews.

You know the ones – the ones where the club looks at its operations from top to bottom to make sure a fight against relegation doesn’t happen again.

Sound familiar?

I could be here all day and write a column as long as War and Peace if I was to list all the things that have gone wrong, or what the club has got wrong over the last few years.

Credit where it is due, there have been many things the club has got right (yes, honestly), in my opinion.

I don’t agree with every decision, nor would I expect to, but I think Big Sam was the right choice (I’m sure he will sleep much easier knowing he has my seal of approval).

Whether or not he manages to pull off another of those ‘great escapes’ we are becoming famous for (don’t you wish we were well known for something other than just scraping clear of the drop every year?), Allardyce has, in my opinion, made a difference.

The way we were going before his arrival, there was not a Black Cat in hell’s chance we would avoid the drop.

Our chances may still be slimmer than a really slim thing that has been on a crash diet.

But we do have a chance.

The signings of Lamine Kone, Jan Kirchhoff and, to a lesser extent, Wahbi Khazri have been inspired and instrumental in keeping alive our survival hopes.

Sadly, I’m not sure how many, if any, of them we will see next term if we aren’t plying our trade in the top flight.

So, having hit you with all that doom and gloom, I must now hope that, unlike The Champ, this weekend’s game at home to Chelsea and, for that matter, the season as a whole, has a happy ending.

Should we beat the drop (part of me still believes, I think) then, on a personal note, that would be a great fairytale ending.

Just please, if we do it, let’s have no repeats.

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