Sunderland have had a wild rollercoaster of a ride across the lower divisions of England over the last few years.
For an in-depth look at it, the Netflix show ‘Sunderland Till I Die’ is a good watch to show how their die-hard supporters have coped since their relegation from the Premier League.
But as the titular title of the Netflix show indicates, a club like Sunderland will never die. Over their 144 years of existence, they’ve often gone up and down the English football pyramid and endured a lot of ups and downs in their history.
However, the Black Cats have always maintained a strong core of supporters – with their home games at the Championship or even League One seeing attendances of over 40,000 supporters at the Stadium of Light.
After being promoted to the Championship last season, Sunderland are now fighting for promotion back to the Premier League after a six-year wait. They have an extremely young squad, with an average age of 23.3 in their current squad.
Head coach Tony Mowbray has probably found it easier to motivate the young blood in his team and has instilled a warrior’s spirit in them, which is leading to them fighting strongly in the Championship.
The character of the Sunderland squad was truly on display in their recent 2-1 win over rivals West Bromwich Albion in the Championship.
It wasn’t an easy clash at all for the Black Cats, with West Brom harassing them with constant attacking moves and the opposition crowd on their backs at all times.
However, the Sunderland squad showed their incredible unity by operating as one unbreakable unit to pull off a special result.
One particular piece of play in the game also summed up the attitude and togetherness of the squad.
West Brom managed to break into their box and catch the deep-defensive line of Sunderland of their guard.
Just as it appeared that West Brom would score, a shot was quickly blocked by defender Luka O’Nien.
The ball then fell to another opposition player in the box, but then right-back Lynden Gooch put his body on the line to make a block.
The hosts recovered possession again seconds later outside the Sunderland box – as a point when six to seven of the Black Cats players were inside the box.
West Brom tried to trouble them with long-range attempts but saw two back-to-back efforts expertly blocked.
The home fans were left groaning in frustration and this bit of selfless, fearless defending shows the strong character of the Sunderland side.
The Black Cats have received widespread praise for their amazing defensive efforts, but one player, in particular, has been hailed for his efforts in this defensive action.
Amad Diallo, on loan from Manchester United, popped up inside the box from his role as a right-wing forward to help his side.
He can be seen making two key blocks in the end and has been hailed for showing an incredible willingness to keep a club he’s only on loan at the top.
It’s quite clear that Mowbray has done a fantastic job in installing a never-say-die attitude into the players and getting them defending as one impenetrable unit that would make the Italy side of the 1980s proud.
Even though it’s still not assured that Sunderland get promoted to the Premier League, instances like these where the players show incredible devotion to the club are what is likely to make them extremely popular within the fanbase.