Opinion: Struggling Sunderland run the serious risk of alienating adoring fans after latest PR disaster

Being a fan of a side struggling near the bottom of the Premier League table is never fun, but been a fan of Sunderland AFC has certainly not been a walk in the park for a number of years now.

Dark cloud over the Stadium of Light

Since their return to the English top-flight back in the 2007-08 season, they have failed to finish any higher than tenth and since the arrival of Paolo Di Canio way back in 2012/13 a vicious cycle has been birthed.

For the past four seasons there has been a cycle of new manager, poor performances, sacking, new manager and survival and has continued and continued. However,it looked like that the Black Cats luck looked to have changed when Sam Allardyce came in, saved them and looked to have big plans for the Wearsiders.

The troubles seemed to begin when it was getting closer and closer to the beginning of the campaign with Allardyce not making any moves in the transfer market, with his reasoning becoming clear as he left for the England job.

David Moyes was brought in, and when he did make signings they have proven to be lackluster very much like the performances of the side throughout the campaign.

Trouble behind the scenes

In the last year or so the club has also began to struggle off the pitch, there have been some very high points with the support of young fan Bradley Lowery but also been some very low points which has brought the club in disrepute.

The major one of those been the Adam Johnson fiasco, that brought a lot of media attention to Wearside and 99 per cent of it been negative which is deserved considering Johnson's disgusting actions.

The Black Cats did the right thing in cutting all ties with the shamed winger, but they certainly didn’t come out of it smelling of roses. Former Chief Executive Margaret Byrne resigned for her part in the saga, allowing Johnson to continue playing despite privately admitting the accusations against him.

That set the snowball rolling for what has proved an awful year behind the scenes, the main issue been the current financial situation that the North East club find themselves, It has been well known for some years that owner Ellis Short has been looking to sell up, there was apparent interest from China but that has failed to materialise and the lack of funds has led to a lack in transfers that aren't free and in turn led to frustration amongst the faithful.

It seemed to reach boiling point during the week when it was announced on Tuesday to staff at the Academy of Light, that another round of redundancies could be expected at the club.

"The decisions have not been taken lightly," Martin Bain told Sky Sports. "The internal process required in order to undertake the changes has already commenced and club staff have been advised of the procedures and timescales involved."

There is nothing wrong with preparing for a possible drop down from the top-flight, and something like that can be expected considering the club's position both in the table and financially.

However the PR team at the Stadium of Light have certainly dropped the ball on this occasion, with the first-team having just come back from a short stay in New York City a trip many can't imagine will have been cheap on the purse strings.

If the rumours are anything to go by the team did very little activity on the pitch during their stay in the big apple, it also gives off the impression that the footballers and club live in their own bubble and lack the awareness of what effect them dropping out of league can have on not only on the employees but the wider area of the city.

Sunderland fans are some of the most loyal and supportive fans in the country, following the Black Cats the width and breadth of the country despite their performances been poor nine times out of ten.

However with these actions it gives off the impression that the club don’t reciprocate that love or appreciation, and they seriously risk alienating the majority of people that care about the future of the historic outfit.