Sunderland’s 2020 in review: Ownership saga, academy issues, key functions to fill and can Grigg’s goalscoring woe

It is never dull, can it be?

Supporters on Wearside are well-accustomed to your rollercoaster trip that is Sunderland that is following AFC and 2020 is per year that brought more steep falls than inclines.

But exactly what had been the points that are main talking supporters throughout the last one year? We check out right back in the that was at the Stadium of Light year.


Register with our Sunderland AFC publication

The i newsletter cut through the sound

It was the storyline that dominated the season.

2020 began with Stewart Donald pledging to offer the club following the fan-led #DonaldOut protests, but ownership modification wasn’t forthcoming prior to the League One period ended up being curtailed in the middle of zoosk the 12 months.

Because of the Ebony Cats consigned to a season that is third the next tier, Donald’s price tag – which he publicly reported as ВЈ37.6million – had been the topic of much debate.

However it didn’t appear to deter purchasers. Sammy Yu, Mark Campbell, William Storey and Matthew Pauls had been all, at one point or any other, considered to have now been weighing-up or attempting to gather bids for Sunderland during the period of the very last year.

After which along came Kyril Louis-Dreyfus – and it’s also he that is to just take a big part stake within the club within the future that is near the club confirming the program in a declaration on xmas Eve, a very early xmas present towards the club’s long-suffering supporters.

January the EFL are now doing their checks and there are hopes it will be concluded by the middle of. At final.

Sunderland fans have actually undoubtedly been waiting very long sufficient.

And fans will wait with bated to breath to see if that deal will bring the modification that the club requires even as we transfer to 2021.


It has been a point that is talking has gone hand-in-hand with issues within the ownership regarding the club.

a summer time of upheaval left Sunderland without staff in a true number of key functions.

Academy supervisor Paul Reid and recruitment chiefs Tony Coton and Richard Hill departed and tend to be yet become changed – even though club had been set to kick-off their seek out a head of player recruitment at the beginning of December.

The visit of Jim Rodwell as leader supplied some much-needed leadership on Wearside, nonetheless it wasn’t through to the end of the season whenever Sunderland actually started initially to put a great framework in position.

Kristjaan Speakman’s arrival as sporting manager is defined to herald a new set-up behind the scenes during the Academy of Light and you can find hopes that this might give you the framework that the Ebony Cats have traditionally craved.

There are a true number of key functions become filled, though, and these will have to be sorted as a concern in 2021.


Another intertwined concern had been that regarding the academy.

Summer time saw Joe Hugill, Logan Pye and Bali Mumba all depart for six-figure costs and concerns mounted throughout the proven fact that much more promising youngsters had been Sunderland that is leaving with little to no to no fight through the club’s viewpoint.

Things have actually enhanced somewhat with this front side, while the reality the Black Cats have actually tied up Adam Richardson and Dan Neil to brand new long-lasting discounts shows a effort that is concerted make sure youths are retained.

Issues within the academy have never completely disappeared at the time of yet, but there is optimism going into 2021 that the club’s conveyor gear of talent could once once again become integral to the ongoing future of Sunderland.


A large chatting point for most of the entire year, especially towards the end of Phil Parkinson’s reign, ended up being the club’s style that is tactical.

While Parkinson’s 3-4-3 yielded some promising outcomes at the beginning of 2020, it became instead predictable while the 12 months wore on – also it quickly became obvious that there clearly wasn’t much when it comes to a plan that is back-up.

Things have actually markedly enhanced within the very early days of Johnson’s reign, with Sunderland’s more front-footed design creating some strong outcomes and shows.

But numerous will point out the known proven fact that things had been equally as promising at times under Parkinson, and Johnson has yet to possess been forced into playing an idea B.

Just then will we all know if Sunderland have seriously enhanced in a tactical front side.


Another hot-button problem under Parkinson ended up being the use that is club’s of – or, certainly, having less them.

It had been sensed by numerous that the Ebony Cats would frequently wait far too late to produce switches and thus didn’t provide players an opportunity to make a serious effect on the overall game.

With League One groups now in a position to utilise as much as five modifications, you have the window of opportunity for Sunderland to rotate more workers if the necessity calls for.

Which could be a weapon that is useful we go to 2021 additionally the Wearsiders look to keep climbing the dining table.


For the the greater part of the season, issues have now been raised over Sunderland’s not enough a cutting advantage in the ultimate 3rd.

Before the visit of Johnson, Sunderland hadn’t scored a lot more than twice in a league game through the 2020-21 period and never ever appeared as if blowing a group away.

Charlie Wyke chipped in together with his share of objectives but Will Grigg – the a lot of money signing of 2019 – remains yet to essentially get fire on Wearside.

But under Johnson, goals don’t appearance like they’ll be an issue.

Time is the judge of this, but that is one point that is talking will ideally be well and undoubtedly put aside in 2020.