Accrington Stanley are currently lying just ONE POINT behind Sunderland and a mere two places below them (with Charlton in between) and they have two games in hand on Sunderland - just ponder the full significance of that for a few moments.
I'm a Sunderland supporter who has lived in the North West for 47 years. Never once have I been tempted to become a glory supporter of the likes of the Manchester or Liverpool Clubs. I am Sunderland till I die. But I must confess a soft spot for Accrington Stanley, made famous by that TV advert and brought from non-League obscurity into the heights of Division One by a certain John Coleman.
North West sports coverage on the BBC means that I hear and see a lot about John. He's a larger than life Liverpudlian who manages a club on a pittance and on a tiny fraction of the support Sunderland receive. His team play in the often wild climate of the Accrington moors, often being one of the first games to be cancelled in really bad weather. But Coleman is a motivator, a fighter, an achiever on a pauper's budget. Sometimes they slip down the League and things look dangerous but then they win their games in hand, they have an uncanny knack of doing this.
They produce some impressive away wins out of the hat and can be free scoring in doing so. They might take a pasting one week and then suddenly they bounce back with a good run and start climbing again. Now surely it's obvious why I'm focusing on Accrington and their remarkable manager - the stunning contrast they offer to the predictable and consistent mediocrity of Sunderland AFC under Phil Parkinson, writ large yet again at Fleetwood last night.
Am I advocating Coleman as a possible manager? Well I'll tell you what I think the team would come alive with his style of management. We would re-discover the feeling of joy in supporting a football team. Have that wonderful buzz on a Saturday night. Of course, any such appointment would be laughed at and derided by our long-suffering supporters - five times bitten and all that. But pair Colemen's nouse, experience and charisma with Super-Kev's enthusiasm and legendary status with the supporters and who knows? Just a thought…