The Blackcats’ hopes of maintaining their Premier League status could hinge on the success of a new fan petition calling for the club to be docked points.
Sunderland’s miraculous revival from being at the foot of the Premier League to just outside the relegation zone could count for nothing if one fan gets his way.
According to a petition on the Change.org website, High Wycombe resident Matthew Rever is calling for a Black Cats to receive a three point deduction for fielding an ineligible player earlier in the season.
Sunderland came clean earlier in the season about the incident, which saw Ji Dong-Won feature for the club in their opening four fixtures of the Premier League season, despite the player lacking the required international clearance.
At the time the club received a fine and a warning over the incident, but Mr Rever has called to attention the subsequent punishments meted out to clubs who made the same error but paid a much bigger price.
“AFC Wimbledon, Oxford City FC and Harrogate Town FC were all given points deductions for the exact same offence,” he writes in on the official page for the petition.
“I don't see how you can have one rule for one team and a different rule for the others.”
The disgruntled football fan was also keen to point out that Ji Dong-Won also featured for Sunderland in their Capital One Cup second round victory over the MK Dons, a win which set them on course for an appearance in the final.
While it remains questionable as to whether the petition will gain traction, Mr Rever does offer some valid points and, should the Football Association take note, then a three-point deduction could yet be metered out to Gus Poyet’s team – a move that would throw them back into the relegation mire.