What better way to celebrate a decade of underwhelming Premier League appearances than by getting relegated. It’s been coming. Credit to their owners for sticking by Moyes in a time of little patience, despite his own negative thoughts about their predicament. Could anyone have saved a squad with such little quality?
The one highlight of their season was the emotional bond between star player Jermaine Defoe and star fan Bradley Lowery. Despite their results on field they showed themselves to be a huge inspiration off it, something that should be praised.
Sunderland scored 29 goals, with 15 from Defoe, the highest percentage of a team’s goals by any one player in the division. Their impotence in front of goal was vital, with only four teams scoring under 40 and only Middlesbrough (27) scoring less than them. It was the second least they’ve scored in their history behind their infamous relegation of 2005-06, a season which matches their defensive record this year with 69 conceded.
Sunderland now join Crystal Palace and Norwich with a record four relegations from the Premier League.
Bleak. Who wants to join the team that finishes last? They’ve lost their star player on a free and their manager has a damaged reputation. They’ll do well to finish in the top half of the Championship. The cups can be disregarded and it should be about building for a promotion push in a couple of years time.
They’ve lost Defoe and Pickford as well as other key squad players like Larsson, Borini and Anichebe. Their replacements so far are James Vaughan and Aiden McGeady, hardly inspiring.
Defensively they’ve raided Everton again for Galloway and Browning on loan. Moyes needs to stop signing players from his previous clubs and do some actual scouting. Target Tommy Elphick seems to have chosen Birmingham. Central midfield has to be a priority once they find another striker, with Jordan Mutch a good option. Signings will be hard to come by with no allure.