We’re pretty dreadful this season, but that’s nothing new. It’s left guest writer Adam Theaker feeling a sense of numbness about the whole situation. I’m sure he’s not the only one.
Numb. That’s the only word that seems to describe the feeling of another Sunderland defeat. A Sunderland loss was once the cause of frustration, anger and disappointment, but not anymore and not for a long time. It’s hard to get worked up about something that has been routine for several seasons.
Another afternoon drifted by where the most excitement happened within the first 10 seconds, Duncan Watmore winning a corner. After that it was aimless long balls and Southampton passing it around like a training exercise knowing Sunderland would hit the self-destruct button at some point during the afternoon.
It’s become all too familiar; a wasted afternoon sat in a silent stadium, clock watching, waiting for an acceptable time we can go all go home and forget about it, until the next one comes around. At one time a Sunderland defeat would spoil a weekend, taking a couple of days to get over before building up to the next game. This isn’t the case anymore. The full time whistle blows, everyone shuffles out of the stadium in silence. Another game ticked off until the sanctuary of the summer can be reached.
Sunderland is at risk of alienating a whole new generation of supporters. We live in a time of inflated ticket prices, and with a greater selection of matches to watch from their armchairs, people are increasingly unwilling to pay to watch Sunderland, especially now that it feels like a chore. Supporters go out of a sense of duty these days, rather than with the expectation of witnessing any excitement.
There have been a lot of poor Sunderland teams over the years and the fans have turned on the manager and even individual players to show their disgust. The final games of the Roy Keane and Steve Bruce eras stand out as occasions where the fans stood up and said they won’t take anymore but now there is nothing but acceptance.
Some of the performances this season and last would have merited such a response from the fans, but capitulations against Villa, Palace and Norwich were met with silent protest rather than vocal disgust. Fans slowly made their way to the exits, simply shaking their heads, an attitude that sums up the total apathy amongst the majority of Sunderland supports, and who can blame them? Why should the fans protest for change when change brings exactly the same results?
The club has changed models, philosophies, managers and players, but Sunderland are set for another season drifting towards relegation in the hope they can put a few results together towards the end to save their skins again.