Despite the despair sweeping across Wearside, with many fans already seeming to have given up hope, the stats show that they may not have to feel too disheartened.

History points towards a positive outcome

In the last four years, none of the teams relegated to the Championship have gone on to suffer consecutive relegations.

Fulham made a similar start to the Black Cats following their demotion in the 2014/15 season. After their first 11 games they also found themselves in the relegation places, with 7 points and a worse goal difference than Sunderland currently have. Yet despite their poor start, after the gruelling 46 game season, they scrapped to a 17th placed finish.

Sunderland’s Lynden Gooch will have a big role to play this season. Picture credit: Richard Sellers / PA Archive/PA Images

Some teams – like Norwich City and bitter rivals Newcastle – have proved that despite the rigours of the Championship, it is possible to go up within one season.

In Newcastle’s case, they lost their first two games, and a lot of people were quick to write them off,  but often teams with a number of new players take a while to gel together. Sunderland have sold a lot of players, and brought in just as many with a small budget, so it is to be hoped that things will soon improve.

The mood of the players will be low right now, but if they stick together and the fans stick with this new team, then confidence will return and  bring some momentum that may push them up the table.

The Black Cats’ youth system

Sunderland have not spent massive amounts of money, and they have been working on a tight budget, with funds having to be found to pay off debts, but the cement in the mixer for rebuilding this team up can be found within their own roots.

Their own youngsters – many of who have come through the Academy of Light – is where the future success of Sunderland may lie. Many of their youth players may be a bit raw, but playing for their local team and battling for a first team chance means they could bring a fire back to the club.

Attacking midfielder George Honeyman is a prime example. He has weighed in with two goals this season, making him their third top scorer behind the more experienced Lewis Grabban and Aiden McGeady. Lynden Gooch is another, with the young American having scored one goal and two assists in just two starts, with a further seven appearances from the bench, suggesting that more starts for the youngster could aid an attack that has looked lacklustre.

If they take advantage of the enthusiasm and hunger of their youth system and blend it with experience then they could have the foundations of a team for the future – provided that it is nurtured carefully.

The quality in the squad suggests that their form will return

Former Celtic and Everton midfielder Aiden McGeady, has started to show more of his ability over the last few games, and is one of the few shining lights in a team that has looked lost this season. With three goals and three assists in seven starts – including a wonder-goal at Ipswich – he is starting to show his quality.

The tricky winger also has invaluable Championship experience, having previously starred for Preston under current manager Simon Grayson. He grabbed eight goals and nine assists in 35 games, and stood out in a solid, but unspectacular, Preston team, providing a glimmering touch to their mid-table side.

Grabban is another key player for this season. He has provided an average of 2.6 shots per game, and is surely a matter of time until he converts more of those chances into goals. He has scored 34 goals in two Championship seasons during spells at previous clubs, but was slowly pushed out at Bournemouth and joined Grayson’s side in the hopes of securing more playing time.

His prowess in front of goal will, hopefully, allow Sunderland to battle their way through their early season crisis and he, along with McGeady, will look to rediscover their form and add a touch of quality that can help the Black Cats avoid consecutive drops.

So with a hungry youthful squad, coupled with a return to form for some of the more experienced players in the squad, fans can remain positive and help the team get through the season with the right attitude. It is time for fans to keep their heads up and get behind the team because they are the most important factor for motivating the players, and ensuring better performances when the player step onto the Stadium of Light pitch.

Words by Ben Robinson