Sunderland were embarking on an alien adventure at the start of July as they prepared for life in the third tier of English football.
Jack Ross had been appointed to steer the club back to the Championship at the first attempt after two successive relegations.
Not only tasked with banishing the nightmarish recent history of the club, but he was also entrusted to build a squad capable of challenging for honours, with the ultimate aim of returning to the second tier.
Ross did so in adding an experienced hand and a player who would be more than capable of being a leader in a relatively young side.
On July 20, 2018, the Black Cats completed the signing of Glenn Loovens on a free transfer after his release from Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the previous season.
Full story… ???????? https://t.co/BN9O8ZLJiH
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) July 20, 2018
There was plenty of reaction from the club’s supporters to the arrival of the veteran Dutch defender.
Having dropped down from the Championship to the third tier, it looked like a shrewd signing by the club’s new manager.
And plenty of Sunderland’s supporters took to social media to offer their thoughts on a signing that a pretty popular by many of those who tweeted their thoughts.
Decent signing and a good bit experience which we are lacking.
— Chris (@cbrown_1985) July 20, 2018
Class signing just what we need ! A big and solid defender who can play football !! ⚽️????
— tom (@TomyCuth) July 21, 2018
Experienced defender and a leader the type of signing we need, people complaining need a reality check on where the club is at the minute.
— Paul Murray (@ted_loon) July 20, 2018
Good experienced head to help the youth, probably not a liability like old John either.
— Joe (@ShadyBeaver_) July 20, 2018
quality singing love it!!
— pennywell paul (@paul_pennywell) July 22, 2018
Loovens would make his Black Cats debut in the opening day win over Charlton and go on to play a further 12 times for the club during his debut campaign.
When the 35-year-old has played, Sunderland had not lost – until three days before Christmas when they travelled to Fratton Park to take on Portsmouth.
The defender was shown a straight red card in the 3-1 defeat, ending his 12-game unbeaten run in the side.
Having been injured and out of the side, the defender will find it hard to regain his place with the arrival of Jimmy Dunne, on loan from Burnley impressing since his switch from the Premier League side.
It was a signing that excited many a Sunderland fan, and it has been one that has so far paid dividends and proven to be a successful addition.
His experience in and around the team will be invaluable between now and the end of the season.
It was a good singing at the start and remains one still six months down the line with Ross’ men currently fifth in the league with up to three games in hand on their promotion rivals.