Yesterday the official club Twitter account released a video. An inspirational video. A video that acknowledged past failings this season and sounded a rally cry to all supporters.
After the efforts at Bristol City there was suddenly belief and hope. The video was roundly mocked by opposition fans, particularly the remarkably high number of New***tle supporters who sadly seem to follow the official Sunderland account. For those of us who have endured year upon year of decline which has culminated in our current shambolic state it gave us a reconnection.
Suddenly they did care. Suddenly the club knew what we had all been going through. I dusted off my long-hidden flag of support and thought I would get behind the club and believe, dream, hope that Bristol was a turning point. I bought into the message. Unfortunately, mere hours later I realised I had been taken for a fool.
The performance against Brentford lacked so much. Any Sunderland supporter who has been to the games during this desperate period will acknowledge that whilst the young players lack the necessary skill at present, there is promise there. What is also plainly obvious to any supporter who has been attending is that we have players who are quite simply no longer capable of producing.
O'Shea is as mobile as an IKEA wardrobe and his lack of mobility is bringing a sorry end to his previous solid reputation. Billy Jones appears somewhere on the spectrum of panic and disorientation; half asleep at vital moments. Lee Cattermole tries, but how can he run an engine room with his limited ability. And then there are the journeymen.
Fletcher has all the ambition of Connor Wickham with about as much impact. McGeady shows flashes of what attracted so many clubs to him, but ultimately fails to deliver. We have fallen into the age-old trap of throwing young lions into a gladiatorial ring with little or no support to protect them when the crowd turns, which it inevitably will. An inability to mark, to pass to one of their own players, to make any sense of attacking presence summed up a season in what could be the worst home performance yet and it took about five minutes for the crowd to revert to type with every mistake being criticised loudly.
What was perhaps surprising was that the younger players were not spared. Robson, Honeyman and Asoro were all unjustly targeted for cries of anguish from those around me today. However, to blame the fans for a lack of confidence, for a poor atmosphere, for the poison at the heart of the club is a lazy trap that many have fallen into. Coleman himself accepts that the club are lucky that people keep turning up, our Welsh leader gets it, he understands.
And so, we return to the video. The first inkling of a genuine reconnection between fans and club, or was it? The video spoke to the weary, battle wounded souls of the Red and White Army, of that there is little doubt. However, it was produced by the media department of Sunderland football club. No doubt many involved are local people who care greatly about the club, but they have a job to do. Their job is to encourage people to part with money to support this club.
For that I cannot blame them, it is what they have been asked to and have been paid to do. If the club really is to ask us to buy into the message that it is time to stand up then perhaps they can do more than leave it to their media department to put together stirring videos to encourage people to buy a new shirt, or season tickets or attend a game with a bit of hope. How can the club ask everyone to stand up, to fight, when the owner does not even have the courage to face up to the mess he has made? I applaud the video lads, but next time... send it to Ellis.