A Wembley final is great for Sunderland fans but it must not be a distraction from the real prize

Back in August, like most of our fans, all I was interested in was Sunderland getting out of this division and while a good run in the FA or League Cup would have been nice, it wasn’t anywhere near the main priority.

Monday, 11th March 2019, 10:05 am
Updated Monday, 11th March 2019, 10:13 am
Sunderland AFC supporters are looking forward to their Wembley trip.

However, after the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final win, Sunderland find themselves in a Wembley cup final thanks to a tournament that at the start of the season wasn’t on my radar at all.

If ever there is a slow burner of a tournament it is the Checkatrade Trophy.

Sunderland AFC supporters are looking forward to their Wembley trip.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I don’t think too many would have been massively disappointed if we had been knocked out early on, but here we are in March with Wembley not too far away.

I am pleased we are playing Portsmouth in the final, a genuinely big club with passionate fans because can you imagine what it would have been like playing some clubs Under-21 team?

What a farce that would have been.

Sunderland versus Portsmouth is a fixture that would grace any elite cup competition, it has more of a ring of the big time about it, as both clubs have a rich history.

Our Sunderland AFC coverage in association with.

For a club who have been champions of England six times and twice FA Cup winners, even if we win the Checkatrade Trophy it can’t possibly compare to those achievements and I doubt

the team will be revered as the 1973 players still are to this day.

However, what I do see this cup final as is a reward to the fans.

It is their day more than any of the players, staff or owners, who it has got to be said haven’t done too much wrong and got quite a lot right.

It also has to be said if Sunderland don’t get promotion but win at Wembley, that is not a successful season.

If it is an either or, it is promotion every time but hopefully it can be both.

So if it is the fans’ day, I know they will do the club proud, just like they did the last time Sunderland were at Wembley against Man City in the League Cup and the whole weekend was

special - great scenes around London and will live long in the memory.

After two years of abject misery, it is great to see the fans smiling again but while a Wembley appearance is great for morale, it mustn’t become a distraction from the real prize this season,

promotion.