The date is 31st March 2019 and the venue is Wembley Stadium. From one of the corporate seats up in the gods, Stewart Donald looks away in anguish, disgusted by the defensive style of play his team are insisting with.

In another seat, Charlie Methven vents his frustration at Jack Ross for failing to change things. This, it would seem, was the beginning of the end for the Scot.

On the pitch, however, Aiden McGeady had saved one of the most virtuoso performances of his career for the Checkatrade Trophy final.

This was their prestigious talent doing something that warranted the very £31,000-a-week he is earning in the north-east.

Although Sunderland eventually lost to Portsmouth on penalties, McGeady was the heartbeat of the team. He sunk a tremendous free-kick and then popped up late in extra-time to provide his side with a lifeline.

Though, 18 months on, he is nowhere to be seen.

If you told Black Cats supporters that he’d be excluded and banished to the U23s after that game, they’d have laughed. In simple terms, it would have summed up the farcical problems this football club has had in the last four years.

However, that is the unfortunate reality of the situation.

McGeady was dropped by Parkinson towards the back end of 2019 and was put on the transfer list. Of course, it was hard to drum up interest given his wages but he did earn a temporary move to Charlton.

Though, since returning to the Stadium of Light for the 2020/21 campaign, he hasn’t played a single minute.

McGeady was brought out of the woodwork to appear for the U23s on Monday and for now, it would seem his days as a first-team player at Sunderland are done.

That being said, could there be a lifeline for the Irishman? Quite possibly.

With Juan Sartori and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus agreeing a deal of around £22m to buy a majority stake in Sunderland, they could well take the club in a new direction. That has the potential to start with the sacking of Phil Parkinson and hiring of Nigel Pearson (The Sun, 22/11).

If that does happen, then it would be an ideal opportunity for McGeady to prove himself again. After all, it seems foolish for Sunderland to waste his wages just like they did with Jack Rodwell all those years ago.

Described as “unstoppable” on his day by Neil Lennon, his attacking qualities would surely be invaluable to any new manager in League One.

Furthermore, he seems to appreciate change. Jack Ross commented in February 2019: “He (McGeady) is the type of player who responds well to other players coming into the club.”

Therefore, similarly, a complete change in management and ownership could be just the boost McGeady needs. Let’s wait and see.

Meanwhile, Sunderland’s prospective new owner is already on the verge of a HUGE mistake…

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Source: Football – Football Fan Cast