Here’s what Football Manager is predicting:
1. 2019/20: Promotion!
Sunderland fans will be hoping that Football Manager is spot on, as it is predicting that they will escape League One this season. The Mackems edge out Rotherham in the play-off final to return to the Championship! A dramatic last-day win for Newcastle at home to Watford keeps them in the Premier League in 16th place.
Photo: Matthew Lewis
2. 2020/21: Takeover time
Newcastle finally get the takeover they want, and Steve Bruce makes the most of the extra cash to finish 8th. Sunderland sadly can’t solidify their Championship status. Phil Parkinson is sacked in October and replaced by Spaniard Paco Herrera, who can’t stop them going down in 22nd.
Photo: Mark Runnacles
3. 2021/22: Xavi!
Sunderland are promoted again! They manage to finish the season as champions, and set up a Tyne-Wear derby for next season and Newcastle are relegated. Steve Bruce is sacked and replaced by Barcelona legend Xavi!
Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE
4. 2022/23: Battle of the legends
Xavi endures a nightmare first derby day, with Sunderland routing Newcastle 4-0 at St James’ Park. Paco Herrera eventually loses his job at the Mackems though and is replaced by Patrick Vieira! Both sides stay in the second tier as they finish 7th and 11th respectively.
Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER