Forgive me if the following is more than a little gung-ho and all that, but it’s meant to be, because we’re at a critical point in the season what with us sitting just off the automatic promotion places. Indulge me while I make a plea.
As league games go, Luton is the biggest of the season at home so far. Both of us chasing the top spot, us a point behind our visitors with two games in hand, makes for a really important clash – win, and we’re two points ahead and with momentum on our side, lose, and we have to rely on the games in hand to overtake the Hatters. A draw would leave us no better or worse off in terms of position but having passed up the chance to make a real statement….do what we did to Barnsley, but without the relaxation that had us on the edge of our seats when we should have been totally in charge.
With another crowd well in excess of 30,000 expected, the team need that crowd to play their part, what with Luton bringing 4,000 who, if our experience during the hard-fought draw at Kenilworth Road is anything to go by, will be in good voice. Our fans need to give the Lads their full backing and become the twelfth man – we’ve seen and heard what our fans are like away from home, so let’s replicate that at home and blow Luton’s socks off by having the SoL bouncing as we know it can. Energy generated in the stands transfers onto the pitch and into the players, noise breeds noise, excitement breeds excitement, the crowd lift the players and the players lift the crowd in a circle that can prove vicious for the visitors. Those who were at Portsmouth can’t have helped but notice that their fans were in place well before kick-off, drum, bell, and all, generating an atmosphere that must have seeped down the tunnel to the dressing rooms. The players pick up on that, so let’s have it roaring around the stadium and sweeping down the tunnel tomorrow – we know what our atmosphere can be, and it’s a great opportunity to use it to carry the Lads to three vital points. Give it your all, and watch the Lads respond.
It’s all very well paying your money and turning up to enjoy the better football and wins that this season is bringing – coasting through the season, if you like – but imagine how much better you’d feel if you were actually one of the reasons we won a game. Imagine being part of the collective roar that helped the Lads turn a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 or better, the atmosphere that lifts the team to finish off a game that they might otherwise have been trundling through. An “assist” on your Sunderland-supporting CV that you can celebrate in its own right, that you can look back on at the end of the day, or even the season, and say “I wasn’t just there, I was part of it. We won, and I helped make something happen.” That’s a pretty good reason for extra celebration.
Ha’way the Lads!