Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday are doing League One proud, but they don’t deserve to be there

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The final weeks of the EFL calendar shouldn’t be ignored for the drama of the Premier League.

Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest played out the most important match of the Championship campaign last night, as they battled it out for the final automatic promotion spot.

A well worked goal from Kieffer Moore gifted the Cherries all three points and a place in the Premier League, despite the lack of VAR preventing the visitors from taking what looked to be a clear penalty in the first half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The second tier clash was massive and many football fans made the decision to watch the match rather than Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final tie with Villarreal.

Days later, Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday will play out the best-attended League One play-off semi-final over two legs ever, with a total of approximately 75,000 fans heading to the Stadium of Light and Hillsborough respectively.

While the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City continue to light up the Premier League and show us exactly why England’s top flight is the best in the world, the drama that ensues in the final weeks of the EFL campaign proves to be such a brilliant advert for the country’s lower leagues.

As a Sunderland fan myself, this time of the year has never failed to disappoint.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Getty Images

The end of the season was actually more enjoyable when we were in the Premier League and somehow managed to avoid relegation over and over again - however, since dropping down to League One it has become such a burden.

Our first campaign in the third tier was full of positivity as we finally rid of our previous owners and brought in Jack Ross, who led us to the play-offs at the first time of asking.

Semi-final victory over Portsmouth created a buzz around the club that we hadn’t felt in so long. This was it. We were going back up.

Over 76,000 fans of both Sunderland and Charlton Athletic flocked to Wembley Stadium in May 2019 and sent spines tingling as the Wearside faithful sang Elvis Presley and were sent into hysteria as an own goal gifted us the early lead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, we are Sunderland and Sunderland do Sunderland things.

Thanks to a poor performance and a last minute winner for Charlton, we were left heartbroken and returned to League One yet again months later.

After missing out the following season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we returned to the play-offs during the 2020-21 campaign, despite looking set for automatic promotion so late on.

This time round we failed to even make it to the capital and were instead knocked out of the semi-finals by Lincoln City.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sunderland’s fight to get out of the third tier of English football has been tedious and painful, yet I - like tens of thousands of other fans - find ourselves desperate to return under the lights of the SoL on Friday evening as we look to make this time round a happy one.

Is this season any different? I really do hope so.

Getty Images

Despite yet more chaos and troubles around our football club, Alex Neil and a select group of talented players have brought us hope that our horrid record at Wembley may finally end.

Over 30,000 supporters will be in attendance in the home end on Friday and it will no doubt boast an atmosphere that I hope you can at least imagine from behind a TV screen for all the neutrals watching.

Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday will put on a show, do the lower leagues proud and show the quality that is on offer outside of the Premier League - though for all the excitement and enjoyment it will hopefully bring, it is a shame that two huge football clubs should end up in such a position in the first place.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We have endured some of the worst ownership, terrible management and lazy, money-guzzling players that have all contributed to our downfall, but this season feels like a turning point and I’m ready for my football club to make me smile again.

The Black Cats will host the Owls at 7:45pm this Friday, live on Sky Sports Football. Ha’way the lads.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.