There was doom and gloom abound at the Stadium of Light after a second successive relegation was confirmed at the end of the 2017/18 Championship campaign.
Sunderland were set to embark on life in the third tier after an almighty fall from grace.
Jack Ross was appointed the club’s manager in the summer, tasked with getting the club back into the second tier before a potential tilt at the Premier League once again.
There was a lot of change at the Academy of light with scores of players coming in and plenty going the other way, too.
The rebuild was well underway with just weeks to go to the new season, and Ross was fine-tuning his inherited side as well as continuing to strengthen in the permanent and loan market, too.
And it was the indeed the loan route that Ross went down to capture this summer signing for the season from Watford.
Jerome Sinclair signed from the Hornets after playing just 27 minutes of Premier League football under Javi Gracia before the switch to the north east.
???? We're delighted to welcome Jerome Sinclair to #SAFC on a season-long loan.
Read the full story here… ????????https://t.co/UP8JWA8WJ0
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) July 25, 2018
The 22-year-old arrived from Vicarage Road to much acclaim and fanfare of the calibre of signing the club were able to make in League One.
And this was evident in the reaction the striker got upon the move being confirmed by the club.
Welcome to the club!!! Now grab your chance please!
— michael (@michael13708231) July 25, 2018
✅all the boxes for me like he’s like a Tank hopefully shoots lots of goals
— Matt Dunn (@DunnMatt28) July 25, 2018
So glad he signed will be canny good in this league
— Matty (@HardingMatty) July 25, 2018
Welcome to #Safc
Play your heart out and do your best that’s all we ask ????⚪️????⚪️
— JaneyM (@janey1000) July 25, 2018
Excellent business SAFC.very good across the front row.should be an asset to our squad.can't wait for season too start
— Mals1160 (@Mals1160) July 26, 2018
In truth, the hype ahead of the move was more than what can be said for what actually happened on it.
In 19 appearances, the striker scored just twice, once in the league against Peterborough United and once in the EFL Trophy against Notts County.
With form an issue and fitness worries this was a move that looked destined to end one way.
Before making the switch to the Stadium of Light, Sinclair was in and around the Watford side but was shipped out for more game time.
He had that under Ross but failed to impress whenever he played.
On paper, it was a genius move, one that was commended, but he admitted that the pressure of playing for a club like Sunderland affected him in getting into his stride at the League One club.
And so, on deadline day this year, the loan move was nixed and mutually terminated, allowing the forward to move to Oxford United for the rest of the season.
The transfer had promised so much, but so little was gained from it with several factors affecting the 22-year-old’s progression.
Not all transfers work out, and this one goes down firmly in the category as failed.