Sunderland’s George Honeyman in action

Sunderland’s future belongs in League One after they were relegated over the weekend.

The question now is what to expect in a division that Black Cats visited only once in their lifetime, in the season 1987/88. Surely, it can’t get worse than it is at the moment fans will hope.

“Two straight relegations and two home wins in 16 months have made for grim viewing for the longest suffering supporters in English football.

“Surely our budget, stadium, training facilities and pulling power for players will make us a decent proposition next season?” Asked lifelong Sunderland fan Connor Bromley who is also a writer for Roker Report.

He added: “I look at sides like us who have fallen to that level in the past and most bounceback within two seasons. Norwich, Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester and Nottingham Forest have all been down there recently and have bounced back.

“I would like to think Sunderland are bigger than all of them so I hope we can follow in their footsteps.”

The question is now who to build a side around next season, but for James Copley who supported Sunderland his whole life and also writes for Roker Report this is a no-brainer.

“We need hardworking grafters and a few seasoned professionals who are experienced in League One football. I’d keep Ethan Robson, Lynden Gooch, George Honeyman, Josh Maja, Joel Asoro and build the side around them,” says Copley while Bromley speaks in a similar fashion.

“I think we needed to get rid of the bad eggs. Jack Rodwell, Lee Cattermole, John O’Shea amongst others are seen as poisonous to the club and they have all played their part in these relegations.

“We also have players like Embleton and Diamond amongst many other youth products who I feel are ready to contribute to the team – particularly at this level.”

Bromley continued: “Paddy McNair should be huge for us next season if we can keep him fit and avoid selling him off in the transfer window.”

But, problems have not been as big in the 80s as they are today.

Bromley said: “Wow, where to start. I suppose really it stems to ownership. Ellis Short bought the club in 2008 and while he has invested substantial amounts of money into the club, he has thrust his trust into the wrong people.

“Margaret Byrne, Lee Congerton, Roberto De Fanti and Martin Bain have all taken the day to day running of the club since Niall Quinn left and none of them have been fit to do the job.

“An endless cycle of managers has not helped either. Since Steve Bruce left in 2011 we have hired Martin O’Neill, Paolo Di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat, Sam Allardyce, David Moyes, Simon Grayson and now Chris Coleman.

“That level of turnaround is not helpful to anyone and has really hampered the clubs progress.

“This past season it feels like just a few million on a decent keeper and striker would have given us a real chance to survive. But the club is in no mood to spend money. So here we are, relegated because our goalies can’t catch a ball and we can’t score.”

Chris Coleman took Wales to their first ever Euro semi-final two years ago, but could not do anything to save Sunderland from relegation.

“He has made tactical mistakes but his hands are pretty tied. It’s very hard to polish a turd!” says Copley and Bromley agrees: “Chris Coleman has the backing of the fans and I think we all accept that he had an impossible task.”