Another summer of change on Wearside has left me, and I’m sure many others, with a feeling of déjà vu.
Last season’s charge to survival seems a distant memory, and the mess created by Dick Advocaat prior to Sam Allardyce’s act of salvation, a lifetime ago.
It’s easy to forget just how bad we were under Advocaat.
The pragmatic, stodgy, defensive football that kept us up was abandoned for a style of football that had little pattern to it, supported by an apparent dearth of preparation.
Alarm bells were ringing as Sunderland succumbed to eventual champions Leicester City, before losing at home to newly promoted Norwich City.
Something had to change, and it didn’t take long before Advocaat and the club parted ways.
The summer prior had been full of love for the big Dutchman after the emotionally charged surge to survival he’d orchestrated at the end of the season before.
Funny how these things work out. I doubt many would have him back now.
By contrast, Younes Kaboul started his Sunderland career as part of that woeful defence, breached four times by Leicester City.
It’s easy to forget how maligned he was when he first arrived.
Now he’s gone, Sunderland look a weaker side without him.
He’ll be remembered for the tears after helping keep us beat Everton 3-0 and confirming survival, not the haplessness displayed at the King Power Stadium.
And now, here we are again, defeated in our first two games, with a new manager at the helm, and a couple of new faces in the side struggling to make an impression.
Manchester City may not follow in Leicester’s footsteps and end up as league champions, but they’ll certainly be up there challenging.
New arrivals to the division Middlesbrough may not follow Norwich City and go straight back down to the Championship.
But a spirited start and four points from their opening two games proves absolutely nothing.
Similarly, Sunderland may have lost their opening two games – again – but the parallels end there.
This is a Sunderland squad that looks vastly weaker than the one Dick Advocaat had at his disposal, which has performed infinitely better in its opening two fixtures.
David Moyes deserve credit for that.
Meanwhile, as the backbone of the Sunderland side that stayed up last season appears to disintegrate – either sold, wanting to leave, or injured – the new boys should not be overly criticised.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is, despite the temptation to be angry about the situation, I’m not.
Not yet anyway.
If the window closes and the squad is depleted further and replacements not added, then I’ll be worried.
If we’re winless after ten games, I’ll be concerned.
I’ve seen it all before and honestly, I think we’re in better shape under Moyes than we were under Advocaat at the same time last season.
Time will tell, but I’m still fairly optimistic we can sort this out before it becomes the seasonal Sunderland mess.
– Craig Clark, Wise Men Say