When Newcastle were relegated last May, once Rafa Benitez said he would stay on May 25th the fans were tremendously upbeat because at least we would have a world-class manager helping us back to the Premier League.
Rafa did a great job in the summer last year with the help of Managing Director Lee Charnley and built a new team to get us out of the Championship.
And Rafa has accomplished that quite brilliantly, as the other two relegated sides – Aston Villa and Norwich didn’t even make the playoffs.
Alan Shearer – concerns about the future of Sunderland AFC
Rafa has pointed out that it’s only the second time in the last six years that a team relegated from the Premier League has gained pontoon in an automatic promotion slot.
That’s when you get promotion without having too many heart attacks in your fan basis – it eliminates any very high pressure playoff games.
The Championship these days has improved immensely since we were last down below seven years ago with clubs very keen to get promoted to the Premier League and all that money available to them via the massive TV rights deal of £5.1B over three years.
Villa were in disarray in the summer as Rafa carefully and calmly planned his assault on the Championship by bringing in experienced second division players like Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden, Mo Diame and Grant Hanley.
But the Black Cats are more like Aston Villa were a year ago and Sunderland, like Villa will also be rock bottom of the Premier League and will likely appoint a new manager in the summer.
This is what Newcastle icon Alan Shearer told BBC Five Live.
“I fear for them Sunderland.” “It’s been a desperately poor season for them.” “When there’s disinterest from the top, at the very top, then I think that’s transferred itself down onto the pitch.”
“I know fans in the region, well come of them, will be gloating because Sunderland have gone down but in reality the derbies are great games for fans to be involved in.”
“And certainly great games for players to be involved in. “But Sunderland have had it coming to them for the last few years, haven’t they?”
“They’ve flirted with relegation for the last three or four years and had a few miracles out there, but it was always going to happen because of the situation that they find themselves in.”
If the Black Cats are to have any chance of promotion next season it’s very important those at the top leading the club get their act together quickly – something they havent managed to do over the last five years or so.