Many fans around the world have come to love Sunderland for one reason and one reason only – the hugely engaging series on Netflix. The traditional club has been relegated from the Premier League to the third tier and the road back to the elite has been thornier than expected. But now it could finally be coming.
A hugely historic club with a huge fan base and six First Division/Premier League titles. That’s Sunderland AFC.
In the 21st century, it was a fairly traditional Premier League club that only twice dropped down to the Championship, but won it both times immediately and returned to the elite.
But there was a cruel fall in the 2016/17 season. Sunderland, under David Moyes, finished in last place in the Premier League and headed for the competition below. But that wasn’t the real tragedy.
That didn’t come until a year later when the red and white announced an immediate comeback. Instead, they finished last in the Championship and headed even lower, to the third-tier Ligue One.
And the next blow came when the club couldn’t dig itself out of it for a long time. It took Sunderland four seasons to climb out of Ligue One and back into the Championship.
And now it looks like just as Sunderland didn’t stay in the second tier for long after relegation from the Premier League, they might not stay in it for long after promotion from Ligue One either.
A quick promotion?
In fact, Sunderland are doing very well in their rookie season, last weekend they held off the onslaught of West Brom to hold on to sixth place.
With two rounds to go in the tough Championship campaign, Sunderland will take on 13th placed Watford and 10th placed Watford. Preston. If they make it through both games and the other two results are favourable, they will play the barrage.
For that, it needs Blackburn and West Brom to fail to make their playoffs, in which they will challenge the first two teams (Burnley and Sheffield). Alternatively, both teams could lose elsewhere.
Already assured of promotion are Burnley, who were led to promotion by Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany as coach. Sheffield United, who have a four-point lead and two games to play, are almost certain of the second straight promotion spot.
Luton United and Middlesborough are already assured of the barrier, while fifth-placed Coventry and sixth-placed Sunderland will have to pull out all the stops as several Wolfpack are waiting in the wings.
Seventh-placed Millwall have the same number of points as Sunderland, trailing only by a point. The same goes for eighth-placed Blackburn, who have a game in hand, but first-placed Burnley await them.
Ninth West Brom and tenth Preston have only two points less, and eleventh Norwich and twelfth Swansea have a chance too, just three points behind sixth place. So the middle of the table is extremely crowded.
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