Pundit details Sunderland's 'new lease of life' as club moves away from being 'very cruelly addicted to failure'

Sunderland’s win at Wembley could be the catalyst that sees Lee Johnson’s men promoted to the Championship.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 4:00 pm

That’s according to former Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United midfielder Gregor Robertson.

Johnson’s Black Cats defeated Tranmere Rovers in the final of the Papa John’s Trophy on Sunday.

The result put to bed a near 48-year Wembley hoodoo, with Sunderland winning by a single Lynden Gooch goal following Aiden McGeady’s through ball.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus smiles during the Papa John's Trophy final.

Robertson, though, believes winning the trophy could be the start of genuine change at the Stadium of Light.

Speaking on The Game podcast, the ex-player turned pundit said: “For Sunderland, because of the hoodoo, the seven visits since 1973 and seven defeats and what happened before as well.

“They have played Portsmouth before in that final, 85,000 fans there, huge spectacle and Sunderland basically came down and colonised Trafalgar Square for a weekend.

“And they lost that game and it really had a terrible effect on them for the rest of the season, they fell out of the automatic places and then they lost in the play-off final against Charlton Athletic.

“If they were to have lost again, there would have been that kind of question mark around the hoodoo and Sunderland being this sort of team is very cruelly addicted to failure and what it would do for the rest of the season.

“But Lee Johnson, since he arrived and the new owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, who is 23-years-old and the heir to his billionaire father’s empire, they have undoubtedly re-energised the place

“Lee Johnson is a hugely positive character and a very smart forward-thinking coach as well.

“He has undoubtedly given Sunderland a new lease of life and he has said you can feel the power of the club even though there’s no fans playing against the backdrop of an empty stadium.

“But this could be a catalyst for Sunderland because when he arrived they were in the play-offs but now they are just shy of the automatic places and I would not be surprised to see them go up and be back in the Championship.

“Which for a club of their size I think everyone except probably Newcastle fans would be glad to see.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative football coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription; sign up here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor