Division Three: 1987-88
Sunderland spent just one season in Division Three before returning to the second tier of English football as champions of the third division.
Keen to bounce back immediately, Denis smith was tasked with the job to ensure an immediate return to the second tier.
After a seven game unbeaten run at the start of the campaign, the Lads then lost back-to-back matches before they went on a fantastic run which saw them lose just once in 22 games.
Smith’s team lost just seven times in the league all season while at the other end of the field they netted 92 times in 46 matches, an average of two goals per game.
From the start of April the Lads’ place at the top was sealed and they went on to win seven of their last eight fixtures, ending the campaign with a 4-1 win at Rotherham United.