Well now that promotion has been confirmed I was thinking of an angle for a brief article other than the usual stuff that has been published in various newspapers and on websites since Sunday and then I found it.
Ten years on.
It doesn’t seem like that long, and in the euphoria of the promotion it had escaped my memory (although to be fair alcohol consumption means that a lot of things escape my memory these days), but ten years ago today was the final league match played at Roker Park. It was the 3rd of May 1997 when goals by Stewart, Waddle and Johnston gave us a 3-0 victory over Everton and gave us what appeared to be a lifeline in our fight against relegation.
Despite the relegation that followed the following week though, ten years ago was supposed to be the start of a new dawn as we moved to the stadium that would allow us to compete at last.
Ten years on and we have still been a club that yo-yo’s between the two divisions and we have again been promoted back to the Premiership.
Is this time going to be any different?
There’s little point in reminding people of what has happened in those ten years because most will have experienced and heard about it a hundred times over, but in a nutshell it was synonymous with exactly what Sunderland have come to represent since the 1950’s – false dawn’s.
Are we on the verge of finally achieving something and confirming ourselves as a genuine major club on the English football scene or are we simply at the start of another cycle?
Only the future knows the answer, but a simple, but very effective sign of possible things to come was shown by the turning down of a civic reception even if we win the Championship this weekend. No longer is Sunderland Association Football Club viewing promotion from the football league into the Premiership as an achievement. It is being viewed, as attaining a status that should be expected at the club and that could be where the recipe of future success lies.
Let’s get the Luton game out of the way with a final win in the Championship and then lets hopefully say goodbye for a long time to come.