Sunderland: Why the club needs to prepare for life in the Championship

It has been a fairly rotten week for David Moyes with his ludicrous comments towards journalist Vicki Sparks being made public knowledge, followed by yet another lacklustre performance in a 2-0 defeat to Leicester City which has left all but the most optimistic of supporters resigned to relegation.

In truth, the club can already begin to prepare for life in the Championship because with a mere eight matches to go they are a mammoth eight points adrift of safety and have shown next to no signs of the resolve that has kept previous Sunderland teams in the division over the course of the past four years.

Relegation has threatened the Wearside club consistently of late with usually the same course of action being enough to save them each time.

Normally, the club dismisses a manager and finds a run of results with the new incumbent before things start to go awry for him a few months into the next campaign.

It happened to Paolo Di Canio, it happened to Gus Poyet and it happened to Dick Advocaat.


Failure to react

What has been astonishing is how the club have failed to react to these warnings on every occasion and the departure of Sam Allardyce to take the England job took Sunderland totally off guard.

They have been unwilling to really spend in the transfer market and have kept a core of players who quite simply haven’t been good enough.

David Moyes’ arrival was a glimmer of hope but it quickly began to emerge that the Scot, despite his fantastic record in England’s top flight, would too struggle.

Just five victories have followed all season and a run of six matches without a win stretching right back to February 4th has left the Black Cats without any hope whatsoever.

Teams around them have all changed coaches and have seen an upturn in fortunes as a result, yet in this instance it seems as though the club have accepted relegation and are already deciding how best to back Moyes in the summer.


Glaring issues

When you look at Sunderland’s squad there are instantly two things which stand out, it is far too small in number and there are too many players who simply aren’t good enough.

Papy Djilobodji was a disastrous, head-scratching, signing at Chelsea and he has proven to be no better on Wearside whilst Jack Rodwell has never been able to rediscover the form which earned him a move to Manchester City.

The worrying trend is that the same group of players are being relied upon again, Lee Cattermole, Jermain Defoe, Fabio Borini and Sebastian Larsson.

What is alarming about this is that Defoe aside none of those players have ever really been consistent throughout their careers.

It is a structure that is built to fail in the current climate of the Premier League where every other team is either too talented or financially capable of adding to their teams for anybody to get away with standing still.

It is only a minor miracle Sunderland haven’t fallen victim to the drop before now.


Unpredictable future

Where the club go from here exactly is difficult to predict.

It would be a significant leap of faith to imagine after years of financial stagnation the Black Cats being able to do what Aston Villa did and spend large sums on players capable of performing at Championship level; however it is also difficult to see clubs taking on the underperforming players currently on the books.

This has the making of a difficult situation where Sunderland remain financially hamstrung without the riches of the Premier League and in David Moyes there is hardly the go-getting, energetic figure that single-handedly restructured Everton a decade ago.

Things are going to get worse before they get better at the Stadium of Light and the worst thing about it is that it cannot come as a surprise to anyone.


Written by Chris Winterburn

Follow Chris on Twitter @Chriswin4

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