Almost everything is new about Sunderland this season. A new owner has stepped in. Texan billionaire, Ellis Short has reached deep in his pocket to give Sunderland the money some clubs could only dream of. A new manager has arrived. Steve Bruce comes in on the back of a wondrous job at Wigan and is one of the brightest young managers in the country. New players have been signed. Darren Bent, Lee Cattermole, Lorik Cana and Michael Turner are just four of the new faces who have caught ours and the rest of the Premier League's attention. Also new to Sunderland, are 'Season Cards' which have been brought in to speed up the process of getting into the stadium on a matchday.
Six games gone and nine points are on the board. The table reads that Sunderland have three wins and three defeats. Not bad although not good either. Thus far, at this very early stage in the season we have showed glimpses of brilliance. Andy Reid's sublime chip, the centre midfield partnership of Cana and Cattermole and Darren Bent who can't stop scoring and has even brought out the best in Kenwyne Jones, a man who was targeted for some poor performances last season.
Then there have been glimpses of the same old Sunderland. The bullying we received from Stoke and our inability to put the game away at Burnley as well as making silly errors cost us badly. This prompts me to ask, have we still got the mentality we had last year?
Bruce has brought the axe down on several players since his arrival, but the biggest and toughest job thus far was not persuading someone to buy Paul McShane but is being able to ship out the old mentality, or present if you will and toughen the team up and bring in a new mentality similar to that what he incorporated last season at Wigan.
Still here is the inability to properly defend corners. Still here are the inexcusable performances on the road against teams we should be delivering results against. Still here is the incapability to put a game to bed. We showed signs of being able to do this against Hull City but showed not one sign against Burnley the following week.
Summing up it is still very early in the season, but with current times being difficult financially as well as a poor season last season we haven't been able to sell out once this season with our highest crowd being just over 40,000. Only when the mentality is dead and a new one arises will we see full houses once again. Steve Bruce can do it. The players he brought in can do it. The players who have been kept on can do it. New times are ahead and once Bruce can kill the mentality that haunted us last season, Sunderland can climb up the league and make a region proud.