Sunderland AFC take on Burton Albion FC this weekend. I’m sure our good friends up the road will be declaring it “reminds them of the time that Burton beat the Mackems, to relegate them to League One”
But I suspect the joke may have worn a bit thin now. Despite being two leagues apart and less than five months on from that injury time defeat, Sunderland fans are the happiest they’ve been in years. Newcastle fans on the other hand, are spending their time shouting at shops, dishing out chocolate bars and tweeting Richard Keys…
So much has happened to SAFC since our last meeting with Burton, that it is quite incredible it only took place in April. And apart from the relegation itself, you’d have to say in the main it’s been very positive few months.
The change in personnel throughout the club is obvious, but it is the shift in mood (fans, players and staff alike) that is the biggest change. None of us could envisage this happening so soon, nor should we begin to take it for granted.
I keep hearing that “ultimately it’s what happens on the pitch that matters”, but now I’m not sure I completely agree with that sentiment any more.
Our newly assembled squad have got off to a decent, yet unspectacular start. Things could begin to fall apart, or we could steadily improve and kick on from here. I’m completely convinced it will be the latter, but for the moment it’s not even at the forefront of my mind.
We’re looking forward to matchday again. We feel part of our club again.
We’re engaging with the manager, players, owners and directors. We’re returning from self-imposed exiles, buying more season tickets, replacing seats, selling out away allocations, getting behind the lads throughout the games and quite simply, we are enjoying ourselves.
The last time we faced Burton I wasn’t in attendance. I can’t even remember what I was doing, but I’m certain it wasn’t anything too important. I just couldn’t be arsed.
I heard we’d been relegated from a mate about 10 minutes after the game. I hadn’t even bothered keeping an eye on the score. This probably says more about me than anything else, but I know I wasn’t the only one to feel that way. Apathy had completely taken over.
For all I made a couple of jibes earlier about the Mags, I do actually have sympathy for them. They clearly despise what their owner is doing to their club and are desperate for a change at the top. Regardless of our own views on this, it goes to show you how much the events off the pitch not only matter but can make or break the whole fanbase.
Should we not get the result or performance we wish for against Burton, it will be disappointing, but it won’t ruin my weekend.
“Enjoy League One” they said...
Not sure how much it’s to do with the division we’re in, but I’m definitely enjoying being a Sunderland supporter again.
Ha’way the Lads