BLOG: “As much as I’m prepared to stick up for my club, I hate them. I hate them this morning”

Sunderland fans are fickle for walking out early yesterday apparently.


It must be fun for fans of other sides to be poking their sticks at us at the minute. Sometimes conversations on Twitter end up becoming so ridiculously petty, I really do start wondering if life was better before I was on it. Strangers giving an opinion on how you should support your football team, as if the way things are at SAFC at present dictates you give a shit about what they think. Yet, you still end up defending the lads anyway, and if it wasn’t on Twitter, it would be in your local against the gobshite know-it-all who doesn’t go to the games unless the trip to a semi-final or final presents itself; normally every seven years or so.


If anyone cares about my opinion on our support, I think it’s second to none. But how do you gauge support anyway? Numbers? We get good numbers. If you’re obsessed with numbers then we’ll still be in the top ten in the country when others move ground or improve their own.


But I really don’t care about that. Honestly.


Had Villa not have also rolled us over so easily the other week, I’m not sure people would have left in their droves yesterday anyway. I remember a phenomenal support in the second half against a woeful QPR this season, after a meekly surrendered first half. Let’s not make out the players haven’t had that treatment. But the manner and speed in which this lot can collapse is frightening and, frankly, if it’s too much for you to watch then I don’t blame you for heading to the pub to try and drown it all out.


Mine’s a double.


Cos as much as I’m prepared to stick up for my club, I hate them. I hate them this morning. Having had a night to sleep off the shock of the shambolic display we witnessed yesterday, I’m worried sick that the Newcastle result and performance was an anomaly because of the occasion; our one final day in the sun.


It’s a good job we’ve finally mastered how to play them lot up the road, cos 40% of our wins have came from them this year. Two games. 40%. If we stay up then we owe them a drink or two themselves.


Two ways of looking at it all:


1) No matter how woeful we’ve been this year, we’ve avoided the drop zone all season (bar a day or two before beating Palace on a Monday Night). That implies no matter how bad we think we are, and how spectacular (and hilarious to others) our collapses are, there’s worse than us about. Remarkably.


2) We’ve ridden our luck and when it’s our turn to drop into the bottom three, it will be too late to get out. That home banker against Leicester looks anything but now, doesn’t it?


A bloke I won’t name approached my brother while the score was 0-0 yesterday and told him he’d be going next season only IF we go DOWN. This is a guy who’d travel to Mars to watch the lads play and attending a game without him being present somewhere would be unthinkable. He thinks the players we’d attract in The Championship would care more. It’s hard to disagree with him.


That’s becoming more common than you think, too. I, like everyone else, tried to convince myself that relegation would be a good thing last year when it seemed to be a formality we’d go down. I’m constantly trying to tell myself the pros of it now too. On one hand I just want to be shot of this generation of players. There was something remarkably therapeutic about the young squad Mick McCarthy assembled at that level after Phillips and co waved the white flag and finished on a then low of 19 points in 2003.


But then I remember how that side beat their own record low and how it took Roy Keane and Steve Bruce millions to build us back up to the low standard we’re slightly behind again now. Imagine having to rebuild all over when, in truth, four quality players could make this a half-decent team. Another two or three in a year after that and who knows? Call me delusional all you like, I firmly believe that.


But then any side could say the same.


I’ve been trying all morning to think about things objectively now; Palace are absolutely flying and we all knew deep down that the Newcastle performance was unlikely to be repeated with regularity. Hull and Burnley aren’t winning games and Leicester are still playing catch up.


For all the talk of there being a deep rooted problem at the club; how this lot are rotten to the core, it’s our eighth consecutive season in the top flight and as appealing as dropping down a division to win games sounds, I look at Leeds, the Sheffield clubs, Forest and Derby and think “no thanks”. Being crap in a lower division wouldn’t be any better than being crap in the Premier League.


In truth, I’m a bit numb from yesterday still and I’m not sure what I think anymore. I just want to see a decent side on the pitch.


Stephen Goldsmith