There are some days in which you take a moment to reflect and ask yourself: what’s the point?
Today’s 1-0 defeat to Blackpool is one of those days. No, the Seasiders weren’t as good as they’ve been hyped up to be. But once again, instead of rising above that and showing we really deserve to be fighting at the top of this division, we put in an abject performance which included little quality or fight.
If you wanted to, you could argue it wasn’t our day. Aiden McGeady hit the post, Luke O’Nien had one cleared off the line and there was a semblance of pressure on the Blackpool goal as the minutes ticked away.
But, and I refer you to my opening gambit here, what’s the point? At this stage of the season performances don’t matter. Results do. And for the third time in a row, it was the wrong one for Sunderland, which was made even worse by both Hull and Peterborough winning.
Time to look over our shoulder
It’s been a pretty shit week, hasn’t it?
In the space of just seven days, we’ve gone from controlling our own destiny with games in hand to being closer to falling out of the play-offs than going up automatically. We’re now not safe from the teams below us.
If you thought before kick-off, deep down, there was still a chance we might sneak into the top two – like I did – you can thank Lee Burge for hoying one into his own net and putting an end, once and for all, to any glimmer of hope you still had inside (until we beat Hull on Tuesday night, of course).
But, I’ll be honest, I’m a bit sick of the dreariness. I haven’t even checked Twitter and I already know it’s going to be a cesspit of fume. Our best chance now is the play-offs. I’m over it. So, instead of droning on for the next few hundred words about how bad we are, let’s talk about something positive.
On the day Sunderland’s automatic promotion push was effectively ended, Bali Mumba and his Norwich City teammates celebrated their return to the Premier League. I think at this point it’s important to congratulate Mr Stewart Donald and his shrewd business acumen in allowing the up-and-coming teenager to depart for a cool £350,000.
No one at the time could have foreseen Mumba, a player who made his professional debut while still completing his GCSEs, would go on to actual have some footballing talent, especially not when a club in a higher division whose target was promotion showed interest.
But there we go. We were all proven wrong. Who’d have thought it? But congratulations to Bali, nonetheless.
Another man celebrating today is Gary Bennett. Not the behemoth who guarded Sunderland’s back line for over 350 games, but his namesake and former professional baseball player, Gary Bennett.
I don’t know much about him, but Wikipedia says he made his MLB debut for Philadelphia (the one in America, not near Shiney Row) in 1995. Throughout an illustrious 23-year career, he hit 22 home runs and won the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, just two years before deciding to hang up his catching mitt. I’m assuming because he was named as being a drugs cheat.
Anyway, he celebrates his 48th birthday today. So, if you’re reading this former MLB star, Gary Bennett, happy birthday to you.
And if you’re a Sunderland fan still reading this, with the sun cracking slabs and beer gardens open, why?