Some thought the season a success regardless. There was a better feeling around the club. Some claimed it was reborn.
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Others made judgments based on budgets, achievements, results. They did not think the club was reborn, just different, the fifth best team in the third division. This season began, funnily enough, with two draws, and Tuesday brought a third. It is a discomforting pattern, and there was some grumbling. There was also silence, a sense of limbo. In the hours before kick-off Tuesday had seemed like a landmark day. Sunderland are in the throes of a takeover and there was movement.
Last month, to raised eyebrows and quickening pulses, it was revealed the club was in talks with American investors. This was different league. Fuhrman, Phelan, Platek, presumably. Sunderland, as fans sing, were on their way.
- Sweet Dreams.
- Peter And The Changeling (Story #3) (Peter And The Monsters).
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Hopefully someone pointed out to them that fans from Cardiff to Portsmouth to Barnsley also sing Til I Die, just in a different town. And if part of football is dreaming, Sunderland fans can begin to dream. You can buy the T-shirt. Sunderland have had dreams before.
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But quite a lot turned out otherwise. Ricky Alvarez. Paolo Di Canio. Plus it turns out FPP are separate from Dell in this instance. Ross has been at the club 16 months, though it may feel longer. Ross has his critics. Quinn was chairman, Keane was manager and Sunderland went boom. Keane has his advocates. Then the Celtic Tiger ran out of legs, Ellis Short bought out Drumaville and began to pump in million after misguided million. The businessman from Oxford is wealthy, but he is not football rich.
Michael Walker: A new or false dawn at the Stadium of Light?
Sunderland needed more than what he had from the moment he walked in the door. What else he can do is in question. This is where the Americans step in. How much financial wriggle room FPP have is the next unknown. Another is how much they wish to invest. The 4, fans making the trip to Bolton on Saturday will debate this. There should be a comfortable victory to enjoy.
It would enhance the feeling that Sunderland are on the cusp, a phrase that always sounds exciting. Then you think of Tuesday night, see that the last game of the season is at Rotherham, and wonder whether Sunderland really will be soon in a different league.
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