Last season was yet another undignified slog from Sunderland. Fans watched in despair as the club went through two top managers and plummeted to the bottom of the Championship table.
In the end, the Black Cats were relegated to League One, which is why watching the World Cup is something of a strange sensation for Sunderland fans.
Many of the players who have come and gone at the Stadium of Light down the years are now shining on the brightest stage.
Last night, Uruguay took on Russia and Sebastian Coates came in at centre-back for the South Americans. He put in a solid performance as Uruguay won 3-0.
The 27-year-old defender spent 18 months as a Sunderland player before heading to Sporting Lisbon after Sam Allardyce decided to move him on.
Then there is Ola Toivonen. He so nearly dumped Germany out of the World Cup for Sweden the other night. The 31-year-old is widely considered one of Sunderland’s worst signings in recent memory.
Those two are not alone. Sebastian Larsson is running the midfield for Sweden. Wahbi Khazri is captaining Tunisia and scored vs Belgium. Then there is Alfred N’Diaye, Adnan Januzaj and Jordan Pickford – the list goes on.
Two years ago, at Euro 2016, it was the swashbuckling performances of Italian wideman Emanuele Giaccherini that had Sunderland fans scratching their head.
Once again it seems Sunderland have had good players over the years, who have just not had the time or right atmosphere to showcase it.