Saturday’s 4-0 defeat to an out of form Cardiff City side was the latest step on Sunderland’s downward spiral. Our lacklustre, gutless performance got exactly what it deserved and we remain rock bottom of the Championship.
I should have known I’d ruin the day for myself by thinking ‘this is a great time to play Cardiff; they’ve lost their last four.’ This was exactly the same logic I had when Barnsley came to town. I should have learned, by full time yesterday the 4-0 score line didn’t provoke much anger or frustration, simply a feeling of déjàvu as another bang average side had torn us to pieces.
If accounts of the match are to be used as evidence, Didier Ndong cannot wait to be away. A first half of little passion was followed by a chance for an early bath as the man from Gabon went and got himself sent off; most likely his last action in a Sunderland shirt. Will he be missed? Perhaps if he’d put more of a shift in on a more regular basis, and maybe if he hadn’t admitted that he wanted to leave before this game; a point which Chris Coleman confirmed post match.
Ndong looks set to join Mika, Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan out of the club this month. I would be pleased if we got rid of all our half arsed players, but only if we had replacements lined up and funds to bring them in. Coleman’s clear out is what may fans have wanted for years, unfortunately it comes at a time when the club is steeped in debt and has never looked less attractive to transfer targets.
As soon as players say they don’t want to play for the club, it’s time to get rid. No club needs that kind of negative attitude on the pitch, even less to a side rooted to the bottom of the Second Division destined for another relegation battle. It does however leave us without a senior centre forward and with only two weeks of the window left if does feel like the goals may continue to dry up if we don’t find replacements for Grabban and Vaughan.
The 888 brave souls who made the trip down to South Wales must be commended. With a midday kick off, 650 mile round trip and the game on TV, they keep up the club’s reputation of having fantastic away support, even more impressive considering very few fans anywhere probably felt we’d get anything. But our fans shouldn’t have to spend ungodly number of hours travelling just to watch their team roll over and die.
That last line I mentioned it was ‘their team’. The issue, for me at least, is that it doesn’t feel like my team. We’ve become a mix of ‘experienced professionals’, who make mistakes every other week, young players who lack first team experience and have been flung into action and loan players who haven’t looked invested in the fortunes of the club.
The 4-0 defeat at Cardiff was the lowest point in a very poor season for Sunderland. It was a result which convinced a lot more people that we will be around the wrong end of the table come May.
Next week’s visit of Hull is now absolutely massive, a defeat could potentially leave us five points from safety; a gap which would only get bigger.
Get the prayer mats out…