Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce was full of praise for his side's "12th man" recently, as he hailed the fans that turned up in their droves in the final weeks of the season, with the last two home games of the season selling out.
The Black Cats secured a 10th consecutive season of Premier League football with a game to spare, as they did in the 2014/15 season, however this time round it was an emphatic 3-0 win against Everton that saw them over the line rather than a goalless draw.
Speaking at the League Managers' Association dinner, Allardyce stated that Sunderland's supporters "were like a 12th man" for the team, who he says "perform better" when backed with an electric atmosphere, as seen against Chelsea and Everton.
It is no surprise that Big Sam picked out the final two home games of the season, with both sell-outs since being hailed by fans as two of the best atmospheres that many have seen since the club moved to the Stadium of Light almost 20 years ago.
Time to use the money wisely
As Allardyce pointed out, survival this season was more important than ever before, with the new TV deal starting next season meaning that "nobody could afford to be relegated” due to the financial boost of playing Premier League football in 2016/17.
Now that the season is done and dusted, Allardyce and Sunderland can begin making plans for next season, and securing the signature of loanee Yann M'Vila in a permanent deal has been made a top priority.
The Black Cats also named Martin Bain as their new CEO yesterday after the resignation of Margaret Byrne. Bain has experience in the role after occupying the position of CEO at both Rangers and Maccabi Tel Aviv in recent years, and will take up the position on Wearside on July 1st.
His arrival will be a boost in another financial sense, as he looks to improve the club off of the pitch too.