The Stadium of Light was supposed to herald a bright new era for Sunderland Football Club, and for a little while they shone as Peter Reid’s side finished seventh in successive seasons.
But in the two decades since moving to their 49,000-seat home, never has the mood been as bleak as it is now — and there have been some dark days for competition.
They kick off the new Championship season live on TV this Friday night to the backdrop of midfielder Darron Gibson threatening to punch a supporter during a drunken rant in which he branded his own side ‘f****** s***’.
Darron Gibson launched an extraordinary attack on Sunderland after their defeat by Celtic
Sunderland, spearheaded by Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, shone in their new home
However, the Black Cats have endured some dark days at the Stadium of Light since then
He also threw a hand grenade into the dressing room when he suggested team-mates Lamine Kone, Jeremain Lens and Wahbi Khazri ‘don’t give a f***’ about the club.
His foul-mouthed tirade is understood to have been caught on a camera phone at a wedding reception at Ramside Hall in Durham on Saturday night and he was later asked to leave by several guests.
The club confirmed yesterday they have opened disciplinary proceedings against the 29-year-old, who apologised but is set to be fined two weeks’ wages. Even the statement releasing that news misspelled the player’s name.
Indeed, new boss Simon Grayson was going to be left to front up to the shameful episode at his pre-match press conference later this week until the full extent of Gibson’s appalling behaviour was brought to light.
Gibson said that 'Sunderland are s**t' following their 5-0 friendly defeat against Celtic
The midfielder named a few Sunderland players who 'don't give a f***' about the club
In short, the club are a mess. And, in Ellis Short, they have an owner who must rank as one of the worst of the Premier League era. For he is not an asset- stripping mercenary. Rather, his running of what should be a proud and brilliant institution has simply been incompetent and negligent.
At almost every level of the club he has employed people not up to the job, and this is the position they find themselves in — relegated from the Premier League with barely no money to spend and a squad of players who either aren’t good enough, don’t want to be there, or some who think the best preparation for the new season is to get drunk and threaten to punch a supporter’s ‘f****** head in’.
And to think Gibson put himself in that situation just hours after a humiliating 5-0 home defeat by