During times of desperation there has always been a need to put pen to paper, or in this case sausage finger to cheap Chinese keyboard, and make no mistake these ARE desperate times…

Faith, hope and charity are beautiful things but also dangerous things. In addition, they remind me of my relationship with SAFC. Let me explain…

Faith: Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. The faith that one day, just one day, it would be our turn. The most prevalent example of this took place on the 25th October 2008 when the Richardson rocket against Newcastle sent the crowd into raptures and if I’m being honest from a personal perspective a little bit of wee came out, in fact there’s some twitching going on as my meaty fingers bear down on this cheap keyboard.

Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. In my experience this equates to the teenage years and the longing for some “success” at a house party. You’re all familiar with the scenario, the parents have disappeared to Benidorm to understand the workings of the local bronzed celebrity Sticky Vicky leaving behind an empty dwelling. At my age, born in the late seventies and I’m clinging onto the word “late” by broken fingernails, news would quickly spread that parents were away via word of mouth and there was always a fear that the wrong people, might just might rock up and trash your house. Ashamed to say sometimes that category could be applied to yours truly, not in a nasty way but more in a “You’re a bit young, you’ve had a few too many, now do one!” It was more drunken antics than malicious, “Bubble bath in the cistern anyone?” I digress. For the record this hope was very rarely justified in terms of SAFC due to the many, many failed voyages to Wembley Stadium amongst other things. However, on the 2nd March 2015 from 15:10 until 16:10 my hope and endorphin levels were beyond anything before or since. Although our relationship ended badly Fabio, for this sixty minutes of my life at Wembley I will always be thankful. You beautiful Italian Mag slaying b**tard.

Charity: The voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need. This indeed relates closely to my club and my tribe, but at times it feels like donating to a charity when you know the money will be ingested by some despotic war lord and will never be dispersed amongst those most in need. The obvious comparisons include tickets, time, beer, strips and enlisting my son to follow in my misguided footsteps along the precipice of Premier League survival.

This brings us to the alarming state my beautiful SAFC currently finds itself in. How have we have managed to get ourselves into such a state? Is it one of life’s great mysteries? How does milk turn into cheese and not just get stuck at the yogurt phase anyway? Unfortunately, the answer is complete and utter mismanagement for over a decade

In commercial business ten years of haplessness results in bankruptcy, it saddens and frustrates me that at times I have contemplated taking the whole club over to Switzerland, sticking a needle in her forearm and sending her off for a nice long sleep. Is this a viable option to be considered given the current state of affairs? For Christ sakes my first season ticket was in 1990 and my first match was against Man U sometime in the mid-eighties, standing on a wooden crate being force fed popcorn by my overly enthusiastic mother. This isn’t to say “Look at me, look at me I’ve been there since Roker,” or that isn’t my intent, it’s more to highlight this is a more long term arrangement than anything Katie Price has ever managed.

So far, so twisty, well to be honest I’m mightily fed up with the whole thing. Every day there is a thirty minute check on the message board which seems to be a mix of liars, jokers and the very occasional person in the know that can provide snippets of the comings and goings at our once great club. They are then mauled by the brutal keyboard warrior predators that reside and hunt over the interweb, these are referred to in the media as trolls and referred to in my house as complete dickheads.

The current man in charge of the club seems ill prepared to lower his price, the current manager carries little favour with the now shot worn fans, and the transfer kitty appears as empty as the Mags trophy cabinet. This is the first year that my season ticket has remained unfulfilled, tucked at the back of my wallet like a forlorn love letter from a childhood sweet heart, possibly one that was suitably impressed with foaming toilet flushes in the mid 90’s and so threw forth her heart shortly afterwards.

Will my season card ever be renewed? Like most of us, sweeping generalisation alert, there have been times during this whole pandemic that the additional free time afforded by not being handcuffed to the Stadium of Light on a Saturday afternoon has been refreshing. Being force fed the same stomach-churning dross week after week, match after match was about as palatable as drinking bin juice on a particularly nauseous hangover.

The irony is not lost on me that this abundance of spare minutes has been made available during the time in most recent history when there has been the fewest options available to spend them on. Although due to current mask etiquette guidelines it’s also the peak time in history to earn your trade as a ventriloquist.

If only there was a way to travel back to 1990 and grab my curtain laden teenage angst ridden self and whisper into his ear, “Don’t do it, support Man Utd instead.” Would I change anything? Would I hell! Richardson’s rocket, Borini’s Wembley goal, helping out my local club, beating the Mags continually and Wembley finals. Despite the horror of recent seasons this is my city, my club and my tribe and I don’t like Switzerland anyway!

Stay safe. Keep the faith