Now that 2008 has closed and a new year has just began, looking back on a year which potentially is a massive point part in history of Sunderland AFC.
The most pivotal point of the year being the resignation of Sunderland manager Roy Keane, although the majority of fans believe that his tactics and off the field management skills weren't up to what was needed. We should not forget that Roy was the man who got Sunderland back into the Premiership. We also have Roy to thank for bringing in players such as Djibril Cisse and Anton Ferdinand in, and the little known Kenwyne Jones, who has turned out to be the clubs star player.
Although Jones has missed the beginning of the season due to a bad injury, only the last few games Jones has regained his fitness to make a strike partnership with Djibril Cisse that will put the fear of god into the best of the Premiership defences.
The league has started off to be a interesting one this year, the usual predictions of the Chelsea/Man United's two horse race has been thwarted by Liverpool, who have had a steady run at the top of the table.
The bottom half of the table only having 7 points between 10th and 20th, it's going to be a very tight race in 2009 both winning the league and the three relegation positions, but altogether an interesting time for football fans no matter which team they follow.
After the departure of Keane, caretaker manager Ricky Sbragia brought a couple of eye opening results, an unlucky last minute goal from Man United, to stop a well defended Sunderland getting a share of the points, then the two 4 goals apiece matches which brought Sunderland out of the bottom three to 12th position in the league.
The last two games have not been as exciting with a 0-0 draw with Blackburn, then a disappointing 3-0 defeat against Everton.
With the transfer window now open the rumours of the in and outs at the club are starting to roll. The two current and most plausible rumours of Chimbonda and Diouf wanting to leave the club, both players have been left out of first team action for a number of games.
Chimbonda, linked with a move back to France, and with the recent arrival of Sam Allardyce as Blackburn's new manager, have fuelled rumours that the 'want away' striker Diouf will be pushing for a move to Ewood Park to link up with his old boss.
As a squad the future of Sunderland AFC looks a bright one if nothing else, the talent and quality of the current squad have the ability to make Sunderland a force within the Premiership, with the right man leading the way.
A big fan favourite striker Djibril Cisse, has suggested in recent interviews that he would love to stay on at the club once his loan deal is complete, despite Keane quitting, signing the French striker on a permanent basis would be a massive bonus not only to the quality of the team, but to sent out a message that this club is on the up.
Now that Ricky Sbragia has been made a permanent fixture as manager, only time will tell whether he has what it takes to keep Sunderland a Premiership team, he is facing hs first major hurdle with the transfer window, it will certainly test the pulling power of both the club and manager as key area's need improvements. Sbragia certainly has gainned the respect of the current team, as many players have publically urged the Sunderland board to offer the manager's job to Ricky before it was made official.
Sbragia has been given an 18 months contract, which includes a review after the first 6 months which co-insides with the finish of the current season.
Speculation around Sunderland's majority share holder Amercian based Ellis Short, rumors of Short having a run in's with Roy Keane over contract talks keep Keane at the club, also the lack of time Keane spends around the training ground, this apparently adding to Roy Keane's departure.
Now with the credit crunch hitting businesses globally, it is rumored to have hit members of Drumaville Consortium hard, leading more rumors of a possible complete take over by Ellis Short.
Looking back into 2008 it has been a massive year from Sunderland AFC, 2009 has the possibility to be an even bigger year for both the club and the fans, but lets hope its in the right direction.