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Sunderland: Black Cats back after a decade away

3 August 2017

In the final of our five in-depth looks at the new clubs in the EFL, we arrive at Sunderland, who return to the Sky Bet Championship stage after spending the past 10 seasons in the top flight.

Their pedigree at this level is impressive, and if they can rediscover the form of their most recent second tier campaigns, then the Black Cats will be purring once again come May.

The club – in brief

Name: Sunderland
Also known as: The Black Cats
Founded: 1879
Stadium: The Stadium of Light (48,707)
Need to know: Sunderland broke the record in 1999 for the most points in a Championship campaign, as they racked up 105 on their way to promotion. Reading are the only team to better this feat, picking up 106 in the 2005/06 season.


This will be Sunderland’s first season in the Championship for more than 10 years, running out champions back in 2007, under the stewardship of Roy Keane.

A decade-long stint in the Premier League would follow, and that is where the men from Wearside will be aiming to return to this time around.

In fact, on the last two occasions Sunderland have played at this level, they’ve emerged in first place come the end of the campaign.

2016/17 – in brief

Played (all competitions): 43 games
League position: 20th – 24 points
Scored: 29
Most appearances: Jermain Defoe - 39 (all competitions)
Top goalscorer: Jermain Defoe – 15 (all competitions)

The manager

There will be a new man in the dugout for the upcoming season, after Simon Grayson made the switch from Preston North End.

An experienced manager at Championship level, Grayson was seen as the perfect man to replace the departing David Moyes, and he has the credentials to help Sunderland achieve their dream of bouncing back at the first time of asking.

The Yorkshireman has guided Blackpool, Huddersfield Town and Preston to promotion via the Play-Offs during his coaching career, and he also took Leeds United up to the Championship courtesy of a second-placed League One finish in 2009/10.

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