Crest of a Wave


One swallow does not make a summer; however, the green shoots of recovery are spouting forth faster than a triffid field on fertile soil, peppering our post-apocalyptic landscape with hope and forgotten feelings of happiness. As any Sunderland fan will attest to though, there always remains that little voice in your head. You’re waiting for some massive boots to trample all over the fresh growth. These are unfamiliar times and it is hard to let go of the mistrust. Before the Wimbledon game I had a bad feeling. I thought the euphoria was about to come crashing down and for a large part of that match my fears were well placed. The big boots of Wimbledon’s Giants almost crushed our free-flowing free spirited football. Our vulnerability to crosses was exposed, the fatigue of playing twice a week seemed to have sapped something from the legs of our heroes.

Who to turn to in these times? Well of course it would be Cattermole. The Wimbledon result was significant. Not just because it kept that winning momentum but because it epitomised the spirit instilled in Sunderland since the Oxfordshire landings. Old Sunderland, Texan Sunderland would have capitulated. Heads down, fans despondent. New Sunderland roared to victory and danced in the stands. At what point does that little voice in your head stop making you distrust the team? At what point do we swagger in and expect points? Inevitably that will differ for each fan. For me I am not sure it will ever go away. Years of disappointments following typical Sunderland have produced a nagging doubt that refuses to hush.

Then I look at the table and see us unbeaten in five games. We chase Peterborough having played three of our five games away from home. Next up is Oxford, languishing close to the bottom. This is a walkover, right? The voice sparks up again. The change in ownership has brought our club back, there may be those who doubt the finances, but the vast majority now trust those people who waltzed into our lives at the end of last season. The trust in the team to deliver may take a little longer. Jack Ross is doing things the right way. We have players performing at a level we haven’t seen for a very long time. Gooch is mercurial, Maja potent. The passing, Wimbledon aside, is slick and quick and full of intent. I remember walking out to the Stadium of Light for the first time and taking in that magnificent stadium as we took on Ajax in a friendly. I questioned whether it was really ours. After the years of drought, I find myself questioning whether these unusual feelings of happiness after a match are really ours. That will pass I’m sure. For now, I’ll ignore that little voice that says “it will all come crashing down today”. As far as magic carpet rides go this could be up there with the best.

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