The Football League Paper - - GLENN MOORE -

GO­ING into Fri­day’s match at Ful­ham, Sun­der­land, over the last six sea­sons, had played 234 league matches, win­ning 47, draw­ing 71, los­ing 116.

They were on course to lose ex­actly half their matches in this pe­riod, win­ning one in five.

It is very dif­fi­cult to turn around a club used to los­ing. When con­fi­dence is low, it takes a big per­son­al­ity to de­mand re­spon­si­bil­ity, to want the ball, to be pre­pared to take risks with it rather than play the safe side­ways pass.

Who­ever is man­ager next sea­son – and Chris Cole­man should be given the sum­mer to try to shape his own team – re­cruit­ment is go­ing to be vi­tal.

This will be dif­fi­cult as there are highly-paid play­ers on the books who will be hard to shift.

The sta­sis at the top is a huge prob­lem with El­lis Short’s ab­sen­tee own­er­ship crip­pling the club.

How­ever, the chance to play at the Sta­dium of Light ought to be at­trac­tive to the best play­ers in the lower di­vi­sions and those on the way down used to Premier League fa­cil­i­ties.

Tony Mow­bray turned Black­burn Rovers around this sea­son, Kenny Jack­ett did the same with Wolves a few years ago. Three decades ago, Denis Smith did it at Sun­der­land, the last time they fell into tier three.

Mow­bray had a sum­mer clear-out, re­plac­ing big earn­ers past their best with younger, hun­grier ones, such as Bradley Dack from Gilling­ham and Richie Small­wood, a League One pro­mo­tion win­ner with Rother­ham. Both re­warded his faith. Also vi­tal was Mow­bray’s abil­ity to keep be­lief high de­spite a mixed start that left Rovers tenth in mid-Oc­to­ber.

Bounc­ing back can be done, but who­ever is man­ager next sea­son, he is go­ing to need nerve, inspiration…and back­ing from the owner.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

DOU­BLE TOP: Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley’s Billy Kee is cel­e­brat­ing pro­mo­tion and a bumper goal haul. In­set, Peter­bor­ough’s Jack Mar­riott

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