Sunderland AFC 2023/24 Report Card

After a dismal season on Wearside, I give a grade to every player that has featured in a Sunderland shirt across the campaign, as well as all three men who have managed the side. 

36 players have pulled on the red & white from August through to May, as the Black Cats slumped to a 16th place finish. 

It was a dull campaign for fans, particularly in 2024 where Sunderland only amassed 19 points from a possible 63. 

Tony Mowbray – C+ 

Worth noting that this is purely based off 23/24. Revisionism seems to have made people forget how bad his tenure was towards the end. A victim of his own success you could say with the drop off, but Sunderland’s best manager of the campaign. 

Michael Beale – F 

2WJCK8D Michael Beale  of Sunderland during the Sky Bet Championship match Huddersfield Town vs Sunderland at John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield, United Kingdom, 14th February 2024
(Photo by Craig Cresswell/News Images)

A disaster on and off the pitch, shortest tenure in club history. Need I say more? 

Mike Dodds (interim, two spells) – E 

If it is purely based off his first spell between Mowbray and Beale, Dodds is marked an A+. However, the second and longer spell was as bad as Beale’s. Nine points from a possible 39. Horrible way to end the season. 

Abdoullah Ba – B- 


A decent second season for the winger, with seven direct goal contributions, but nothing particularly groundbreaking. One for the future. 

Adil Aouchiche – C 

2X26W55 Millwall’s Casper de Norre (left) and Sunderland’s Adil Aouchiche battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. Picture date: Saturday April 20, 2024.

When the Frenchman is trusted he has done well but has struggled to put a consistent run of games together. Average first season. 

Aji Alese – C- 

Has had a season plagued by injuries. When he has featured he has looked good, but availability is the best ability. Rewarded with a new contract in March, hopefully he can stay fit.  

Alex Pritchard – C 

Was having a decent season – with performances against West Brom and Leeds standing out – but had a falling out with the hierarchy in January and was suddenly off to Birmingham. 

Anthony Patterson – B 

A few mistakes which are standard for a young goalkeeper, but overall, a solid season. Played every league game bar one. 

Ben Crompton – N/A 

Played 45 minutes in the round one Carabao Cup defeat to Crewe on penalties. 

Bradley Dack – E- 

A calamity of a transfer for all parties. Scored once against Southampton in September and never put in a performance of note since. Luckily was only a free transfer, expected to leave when his contract expires in the summer. 

Callum Styles – E+ 

Another poor signing, albeit only on loan. Had one or two good displays but otherwise a big part in Sunderland’s collapse in the second half of the season. It would be a surprise if the board exercised the decision to make his signing permanent. 

Chris Rigg – B+ 

A stellar breakout season for the midfielder, who became just one of five players to make 20 Championship appearances by the age of 16. Big future ahead. 

Corry Evans – N/A 

Played 66 minutes all season, all of which being sub appearances in the final 3 games. Looks to be leaving upon the expiration of his contract. 

Dan Ballard – A- 

One of Sunderland’s better players by some distance. Sunderland looked lost without him at the back. Extended his contract at the start of the season and it is hoped he will still be here next summer. 

Dan Neil – A 

2TCG9W5 Sunderland, UK. 12th Dec, 2023. Sunderland midfielder Dan Neil (24) reacts during the Sunderland AFC v Leeds United FC skybet EFL Championship match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England, United Kingdom on 12 December 2023 Credit: Every Second Media/Alamy Live News

Impeccable all year, mature beyond his years, you really run out of superlatives for this lad. Madness that he is still in this division, Sunderland will get a lot of money for him one day. 

Danny Batth – N/A 

Only featured in the cup defeat to Crewe, was sold to Norwich on deadline day to many fans dismay. He has made just five starts since. 

Dennis Cirkin – C- 

Another top player when he features but has made just eight league appearances. Must reduce the injuries next term 

Ellis Taylor – N/A 

Another who played just a single half against Crewe, unlikely to be hear next term despite his good form for the u21’s 

Eliezer Mayenda – E 

The first of Sunderland’s striker disaster this season. Although very young, Mayenda played eight times and scored no goals, before being loaned out to Hibernian in January where he racked up just 106 minutes of first team football. 

Jack Clarke – A+ 

2M565XB Sunderland’s Jack Clarke during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers at the Stadium Of Light, Sunderland on Monday 26th December 2022. (Credit: Michael Driver | MI News)

Sunderland’s player of the season. 15 goals, four assists and now looks destined for a Premier League move. Tearing full backs apart all year long. 

Jensen Seelt – B- 

One of the better summer signings and gained a good run of games and experience at centre half. Sadly picked up an ACL injury in March and is unlikely to feature till late next season. 

Jewison Bennette – D+ 

The young Costa Rican gets bonus marks for his triple Maradona spin assist against Southampton in his only appearance. Loaned out in January to Aris Thessaloniki in Greece where he has played very little football. 

Jobe Bellingham – B+

Received a lot of criticism which feels unfair. Overall, a very good first full season in professional football for the 18-year-old. Seven goals and could’ve easily had more. 

Leo Hjelde – E 

Fans were sold a dream away at Middlesbrough with a good performance, been a calamity waiting to happen ever since. Baffling signing at this moment in time. 

Luis Semedo – E+ 

23 games, albeit only four starts, but no goals for the young Portuguese striker. One for the future but hasn’t shown much promise at all. 

Luke O’Nien – B+ 

2X04P6J Sunderland interim manager Mike Dodds (left) with Luke O’Nien following the Sky Bet Championship match at Elland Road, Leeds. Picture date: Tuesday April 9, 2024.

Another one who receives a lot of unfair criticism. Overall is very important to Sunderland’s build up and when he is out the team this has become apparent. 

Lynden Gooch – N/A  

Just eight minutes for the American adopted Mackem at the start of the season before being sold to Stoke. Bringing an end to a 17-year spell on Wearside. Always loved in this part of the world. 

Mason Burstow – E+ 

Another failed loan signing. Not really his fault but this is just not his level. Scored one goal against Stoke but otherwise a plethora of bad performances. 

Nathan Bishop – N/A 

Harsh to give him a rating given how little he featured. Crewe in the cup and Sheffield Wednesday at home were his only two games, he hardly set the world alight in either. 

Nazariy Rusyn – D+ 

The best of a bad bunch of Sunderland strikers, two well taken goals and has showed promise across the season, but once again nothing groundbreaking. 

Nectarios Triantis – D- 

Only one start in a Sunderland shirt, in which he had a goal taken off him by the dubious goals panel. Loaned out to Hibernian in January where he did provide a very funny free kick. I encourage you to search it up if you haven’t seen it already. 

Niall Huggins – B- 

A very solid performer this season. Unfortunately, he has no luck with injuries and suffered a very nasty one in December. Also, the scorer of Sunderland’s goal of the season against Watford. 

Patrick Roberts – D 

Compared to last season, it has been a seriously disappointing season for the winger. Hard to name one performance of note. Really hope he can get back to his best next year. 

Pierre Ekwah – C+ 

2WA2RAR Sunderland on Monday 1st January 2024. Sunderland’s Pierre Ekwah during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sunderland and Preston North End at the Stadium Of Light, Sunderland on Monday 1st January 2024. (Photo: Michael Driver | MI News) Credit: MI News & Sport /Alamy Live News

Hit and miss is probably the best way to describe Ekwah this campaign. It is easy to forget he is only 18 months into professional football, more to come from him. 

Romaine Mundle – D 

A good goal against Southampton, otherwise quite average since signing in January. Another one for the future, which is the story of a lot of this squad.  

Timothee Pembele – D 

Sunderland have yet to concede when he is on the pitch but that wouldn’t always be reflected in his performances. Looked lost when he first came in but gradually got better over time and there is a player in there 

Tommy Watson – N/A 

If he could be rated off his u21 performances he’d be an A+ but was only given the final three minutes of the season when he replaced Jack Clarke. Changing of the guard? 

Trai Hume – B 

2WP4TM1 Sunderland’s Trai Hume (left) and Leicester City’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. Picture date: Tuesday March 5, 2024.

Probably fair to say he hasn’t been as good as he was last year but is still one of Sunderland’s most consistent performers. King of slide tackles. 

Zak Johnson – N/A 

The final player on this list. Again, played against Crewe and that was it. Loaned to Hartlepool and Dundalk throughout the season. Unlikely to see him in the first team anytime soon.