Sunderland’s dire spell over the last few seasons has been put under the microscope like no over ‘club in crisis’ has before.
Thanks to Netflix, we have all been able to see step-by-step the club’s embarrassing relegation from the Championship and are well aware of their status as a League One club.
But the seeds for that campaign were sewn over previous years in the Premier League and came to a head during the 2016/17 campaign when the luck and series of great escapes finally ran out.
Victor Anichebe joined the club in the summer before that season commenced after being released from West Brom and has been speaking exclusively to Football League World about his time at the Stadium of Light.
“Personally I loved my time there,” Anichebe said, somewhat surprisingly, considering the disastrous campaign he experienced.
“When I went to Sunderland it was like a new breath of life.
“It’s a great club, great fan base and great facilities so it’s a shame to see where they are now.”
During his spell with the Black Cats, the 30-year-old racked up just 19 appearances and scored just three times, a fairly meager display but far from embarrassing in the context.
So what did go wrong that season? Well, for Anichebe the problem was more a physical one.
“We just lost a few key players,” he said.
“I got injured and I was out for about two months, and Duncan Watmore as well he got injured around the same time as did Paddy McNair.
“By the time we had come back we were already in deep trouble.”
He also insists that the players remained largely unaware of the ensuing storm happening among the senior figures at the club, recounting “chats” with former chairman Elis Short which offered next to no hints of impending disaster.
For Anichebe now, the future is up in the air. Having left Chinese Super League club Beijing BSU recently over a legal dispute, he finds himself as a free agent once again.
So, with the former Nigerian international insistent that his status as a Black Cats’ fan favourite still remains in tact, would he accept the call if Jack Ross requested his services tomorrow?
“I think at the moment they’ve got enough so I wouldn’t say that they need me right now,” he admitted.
“But I do really like the club.
“I don’t know. We’ll see what the future holds.”