We Had It Coming

April 24, 2018

So, the dust has settled and we're a League One club again. The positives? Those of us old enough to remember the 1987-88 season will be plotting trips to new grounds and going all misty eyed over memories of Marco, Eric and Denis, mud sliding at Wigan and piss surfing at Chesterfield. The negatives? Only just about everything else.

 

When the final whistle blew against Burton it felt like a release for those of us who've been expecting it for months - although there was a typically Sunderland twist to proceedings. Having squandered six points in leads in our previous three games, it looked like we were belatedly going to get over the line in a home game and keep the suspense going for another week or so - only for things to turn full circle in the last four minutes. And of course, there had to be a former favourite among the baddies.

 

Thoughts on Darren B£nt's reaction? I suppose if you've copped a bit of flak since chasing the dollar elsewhere you could revel in the misery of your former club and its fans who were once so generous to you. Even if they didn't appreciate the reactions since then, I reckon most players would remember the good times and thousands of pounds they made from that club, acknowledge their suffering and not to turn the knife any more. Not our Darren, who chose to gloat in front of the South Stand and a cliched cupped ear. Classy as ever. Stick your beachball up your arse, moneybags...

 

After the whistle, when the boos and half-hearted banner waving had gone, confusion reigned as to whether our fate in this sorry shitstorm of a season was actually sealed. It ran on far longer than it should have, before the message got across that although we could technically overtake both Bolton and Burton ('technically' meaning if we signed some proper players who might help us hold on to a lead) - the fact they are still to play each other meant we were nailed on bottom three, due to those things called 'points' which always seem to work against us.

 

Then, as it all sunk in, the club issued a statement, which again divided fans. The gist was very much Whitesnake (we don't know where we're going but we sure know where we've been) before going on to tell us all we were brilliant and that the club will be back. Just like that. Now I know they had to say something but to me it just enabled Ellis Short to stay invisible for a bit longer, when so many of us are feeling let down and pissed off, wondering what's next. Roy Hodgson was surprised he was asked to explain himself when he resigned as England manager and started this whole SAFC slide - but it seems he's not alone in being in a position of power and finding it hard to explain himself and take responsibility when it matters. 

 

You certainly had to feel for Chris Coleman in his post-match press conference. Even though he's set up a side badly on too many occasions this season, it wasn't easy viewing seeing him flapping around like Lee Camp in an Orville outfit and flippers as he tried to assess the situation and explain how he could turn things around.

 

There was plenty of interest from the media (proves we're still relevant and significant I suppose) over the next couple of days, although the attention was as welcome as the questions we'll have all had to field from well meaning people who don't care or understand what's going on at our club - but know what it means to us - as well as the trusty Mags and other wind-up merchants. 

 

It all meant it was past 50-odd hours before my face was able to crack a smile, when Jordan Pickford reminded us all he'll never forget his roots by shushing the Mag fans in Monday's match at Goodison. "You've got Sam Allardyce" they chanted at the Evertonians, apparently forgetting he was the man responsible for dumping them into the Championship roughly two years ago. No question, they handled the fall a lot better than us - but they never lose the power to give you a laugh when you need one.

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At the back end of the 1980s, football fanzines began to sweep the country and in 1989 we were presented with a new vehicle on which to enjoy some of this ride – A Love Supreme. ALS was a place we could all go to celebrate and commiserate being a Sunderland fan. Win, lose or draw, the pages of the fanzine became solace for many of us as we stumbled our way through our day to day lives, punctuated by the ups and downs of more match days than any of us care to remember.

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