Wise Men Say: If Sunderland act swiftly and decisively, next season might just be enjoyable

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Sometimes the worst emotion to feel is no emotion at all, at least with anger or disappointment there is a release of emotion which can at least temporarily improve your mood.

But on Saturday there was a hollow feel to the whole day which was 10 times worse than any amount of anger and frustration.

The grey, gloomy clouds that overlooked the city centre provided the perfect backdrop for the afternoons events.

Even the pubs, usually packed to rafters by the early afternoon were far emptier than usual, there was no sense of anticipation or buzz that is normally a staple part of the matchday experience.

Despite an official attendance of over 38,000, there were swathes of empty seats all over the Stadium of Light.

Those who were in attendance seemed to be going through the motions just as much as the players on the pitch.

Sure, there were boos and voices of discontent but compared to the volatile atmosphere at the Riverside on Wednesday night it was rather tame.

As usual, the lads at the back of the south stand did their best to create some kind of atmosphere, but it was half-hearted for the most part.

Even when the lads did attack there was big roar of encouragement or howls of anguish when the move broke down. Which made it akin to a pre-season friendly at times.

The only thing that broke the sea of apathy was Bournemouth’s late winner as fans either headed for the exits in their droves or stayed to launch a barrage of “Moyes out” chants at the manager.

At full time, the players were roundly booed and only Jordan Pickford really escaped the fans distain.

Despite this brief outpouring of emotion, the overall mood was still one of acceptance as opposed to out and out anger.

Only now as I reflect on our time as a Premier League club do I feel a sense of sadness.

It is now hard to reflect on some of our memorable moments from the past 10 years with as much fondness when you now know that instead of one of our great escapes being the catalyst for better, it was merely a rare glimmer of hope in a slow, painful death.

Right now, it may seem like the end of the world for a lot of Sunderland fans, particularly for some adolescent supporters who have never known anything but Premier League football.

But some of the best moments in the club’s history have come in the second tier and next season has the potential to be much more exciting and enjoyable if the club act swiftly and decisively.

Transparency has long been an issue at Sunderland and this problem must be quickly addressed.

With a disillusioned and divided fan base, the club must not take the supporters loyalty for granted.

Whether Ellis Short decides to stick with David Moyes or not, a clear strategy must be put in place and mistakes must be acknowledged from both the management and the boardroom and a clear recruitment plan needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind over the summer.

Get it right and next season may live long in the memory, get it wrong and the ghosts of the past few seasons could linger over the club for a long time to come.