Jack Ross was a hero at St Mirren not too long ago. He steered them to Championship safety during the Buddies’ first season back in the second tier of Scottish football, before securing promotion the next term.
He jumped ship to Sunderland last summer, and has now split opinion within the Buddies support. Some still adore their former boss whilst some accuse him of showing a lack of loyalty. Whatever way you swing it, you can’t take away the fact he helped the Paisley side out of a dark hole they were stuck in.
After his move to the Black Cats, he was tasked with getting them out of League One at the first time of asking. With the size of the club and resources at his disposal, Ross really should have walked the league.
Instead his side are in fourth place, needing a promotion play-off to get out of the league. They have already blew one cup final this year and have failed to make good of their superior resources and support.
The sheer amount of draws have killed the Black Cats this season. Sure they have only lost four times in 45 league games, but they have drew 19 games. There have been a few other issues though that have plagued them.
They may still go up, but can Jack Ross’ first season on Wearside be considered a failure?
Not bad, not great either
There was a massive rebuilding job done in the summer, with 13 players out and 11 players in. They would need time to get to know each other and so it proved, dropping 13 points before the start of October.
Ross’ side were often praised from coming back from behind to win games. In total they went behind on 17 occasions, but were only able to win five games from this situation and drew another three.
Losing talisman Josh Maja in January certainly didn’t help matters either. Recently their inability to hold onto a lead has cost them too. In their last three games Sunderland have had the lead, only to end up drawing twice and losing once. That’s very poor for a team fighting to go up.
On top of that Ross’ men lost the Checkatrade Trophy from a winning position to Portsmouth. It seems like the club’s defensive mishaps and inability to hold a lead has cost them dearly.
They now sit in fourth, heading into a crucial part of the season. For a club the size of Sunderland, they should not be in League One for too long. The fact Ross hasn’t been able to deliver automatic promotion is considered disappointing by some.
So has his season been a failure? Not yet. The club were teetering on financial self-destruction only a short time ago. A massive rebuilding job was needed and he needs time to stabilise the club on the park. They are still in the promotion hunt and will be favourites to go up via the play-offs.
If Ross wins the play-offs he’ll get pass marks. If not, however, Ross’ first season at the Stadium of Light has to go down as a failure. The Buddies critics may have the last laugh if he doesn’t achieve promotion.