Calling All Sunderland Supporters...

Mike Hewitt

Sunday is a day to be in the Stadium, not the pub.

I'm not a religious man by any stretch of the imagination. My Good Friday began with a bacon sandwich which, frankly, was so magnificent that had a lightning bolt from heaven struck me down there and then, my admittedly surprised disembodied soul would have been thinking 'totally worth it' as it plummeted towards an eternity in hell.

However, there is a Christian doctrine to which I do happen to subscribe - that miracles don't just happen, they are earned through actions born of steadfast belief and faith.

Should Sunderland avoid relegation this season, 'miracle' is a word that will come to be associated with the club. It's what Gus Poyet asked for after the drubbing at Spurs and it had already made its way onto a bed sheet by the time we turned up at Stamford Bridge. It's a little bit sensationalist for my tastes, but it's definitely better than 'yo-yo' or 'beleaguered'.

In all likelihood, should Sunderland beat the drop in the next four games, it would become the principle and seminal escape in Premier League history, brought up every season to offer hope to whichever club happens to find itself staring relegation squarely in the face.

There are those who will tell you that, as far as legacies go, successfully managing to claw your way out of a mess you created for yourself is a bit of an embarrassment, but I disagree personally. Sure, mistakes have been made and opportunities missed, but there is rarely greater pride to be found than when you pick yourself up after a fall.

Call me a hopeless optimist if you want, but being recognised as a club who refuse to abandon itself to fate and hardship is not a bad association to seize at all. Sunderland staying up this season would be special enough to make the wider footballing world forget the mistakes that necessitated it.

If the resurrection is going to happen, then it will be televised. Make no mistake about it - next week's clash with Cardiff City, a noon kick off live on Sky Sports, is as pivotal a game as I can remember whilst following this club. It will shape the foreseeable future, probably of both clubs.

Television has a massive and undeniable influence on the modern game. Through pubs and Internet streams at home, attending games is no longer a prerequisite for watching your team. Clubs are happy to take the massive pot of cash from TV companies so can't complain when fans take advantage of the wider array of options to immerse yourself in twenty-first century football. You have a choice, at the end of the day, and fair play to you for recognising it.

But this weekend the choice is simple. This weekend you can choose to be a supporter rather than a consumer. This weekend you can choose to be part of history rather than just watching it unfold. This weekend you can choose to at least try to make a difference. This weekend you can choose to try to earn that miracle.

I know we are sick of the sight of most of these players. Well, we are one bad result away from being sick of the sight of them again, anyway. They are that kind of group. I know there is a thirst for inquests and incrimination at what put us in this position in the first place. I write about the useless buggers every day so I completely understand the sense of distrust and anger that exists right now.

But Sunday isn't about individuals, it's about Sunderland AFC and its future. It's not about the players on the pitch who drive you bonkers or the people in the boardroom you believe must be held accountable. It's about that stranger who was sat next to you at Wembley with whom you felt an instant empathic connection. It's about those incredible people who travel in hope and sing with pride, no matter the score, cost or connotation. It's about all those fans who have gone before us and were always there to do their part. Our club. Our future.

So please, if you possibly can, get to the Stadium of Light this Sunday. You never know... your simple act of belief may just be the extra drop that earns us our miracle.

You can buy tickets online via the club's official website, which you can find my clicking HERE.

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