Despite finishing the season fifth in the league, the Black Cats were able to get the better of Sheffield Wednesday across two legs taking them to Wembley.
In the final, Alex Neil’s side saw off Wycombe Wanderers with a convincing 2-0 win to seal promotion.
Now looking towards the Championship next season, Sunderland will be hoping to push on and build upon their success something which Don Goodman thinks a club of their size should be doing.
Goodman made 166 league appearances scoring 40 goals for the Black Cats between 1991 and 1994 and now a pundit, the former striker told the EFL Podcast: “It couldn’t come a moment too soon [Sunderland’s promotion]. Commiserations to Wycombe Wanderers who have done brilliantly haven’t they?
“They’ve been a really good club over the last three, four or five years under Gareth Ainsworth, but Sunderland, I know you have to earn the right on the pitch, but they don’t belong in League One. They probably don’t belong in the Championship quite frankly. I was absolutely thrilled that they finally laid that play-off hoodoo to rest.
“Maybe it’s me, because the last time I commentated on them they lost against Charlton. Maybe I should be barred from commentating on Sunderland at Wembley forever.”
Quiz: Can you name which club Sunderland sold these 23 players to from the last decade?
The former Black Cat was full of praise for the man in charge Alex Neil too as he said: “He’s very much a tactician Alex Neil and he recognised, obviously he came in after they’d just been thumped 6-0 by Bolton, didn’t he, the first areas he was going to start on was making them harder to score against. He certainly did that.
“To lose just one of 18 games in charge is a phenomenal record. I thought Wembley in particular it highlighted his flexibility in terms of tactics. I thought he delivered a tactical masterclass.”
Sunderland are a club with history and as a result, many feel they are a club too big for the Championship and League One especially former players.
However, as Goodman also points out it’s about what is shown on the pitch that matters and that is where Sunderland are hoping to improve on going forward.
When the Black Cats got relegated to League One, they probably didn’t anticipate prolonging their stay in the league but ultimately they didn’t have enough in them to gain promotion.
It’s clear that under the management of Alex Neil, the side have significantly improved and will be looking to continue this improvement next season so they can continue to progress further towards the top flight.