Disgraced End Is What Disgraceful Cowards Deserve

Mike Hewitt

Cowards run, and this lot have been running from the relegation they've deserved for far too long. Shed no tears for Sunderland as the Championship looms, for we are finally free.

After games we tend to do a feature called Quick Kicks with a few brief observations worth discussing. Occasionally, it's inappropriate to do that. In fact, occasionally it's insulting to our readers to try to pretend that anything resembling a football match even took place.

Today is one such occasion. The game at White Hart Lane was barely even sport, never mind football. It was surrender.

It's not the 5-1 scoreline that rankled. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't pleasant, but I've seen bad Sunderland teams before, much worse than this one. The very first Sunderland team I saw was a third division one. I was raised on desperately poor Sunderland teams. Rubbish Sunderland teams I can accept - it's the gutless ones I can't.

It's not the ones who can't compete, but the ones who won't. The kind who are backed by a travelling hoard of supporters, defiantly and passionately singing their hearts out right up until and beyond the bitter end - and in front of them wilfully cede all pride in THEIR shirt.

I'm not stupid. I know that the days of footballers genuinely loving a club are gone. It may happen occasionally, but money has made football far too lucrative for loyalty. That's fine. I don't ask for players to love my club, I just ask that they respect it.

And let's face it - these players don't respect Sunderland. They have proven it again and again and again. I've probably written this exact blog before in response to a similar shameless collapse. I'm pretty sure I have. Probably more than once.

Yes, we can talk about Gus Poyet and tactics all we want. He has made mistakes. In fact he seems to have lost a lot of that strong-minded clarity and confidence in his philosophy that he had when he arrived. But he's probably just as big a victim as the rest of us of this reign of tyranny of these players.

We can talk about transfers too, and with some justification. At the end of last season, we knew it. We knew how weak and cowardly this squad was. We were all told by an Italian madman and, although he had no answers, at least he saw the problem - the players. It was a problem that the club tried to fix but did it on the cheap. Having seen the recent accounts, you can understand why, but still.

Against Tottenham, Sunderland's side contained four loaned players, twice as many as permanent additions since the end of last season. The only two summer signings who cost any real money were fit yet not in the squad at all.

But that only actually addresses the lack of quality, and Sunderland didn't lose last night because they weren't good enough. They surrendered because they weren't brave enough. They've been doing the same all season. Some have been doing it in a Sunderland shirt for years.

Relegation now looks certain and even Poyet dares not tell you any different. It's fitting that it ends this way for many, probably most, of the players. It should end in disgrace because, in the end, you get what you deserve and they don't deserve to walk away from our club as anything but.

Nobody wants to drop down into the championship. But if that is what it takes for us to be able to reclaim our club from these heartless and wantonly destructive squatters, then so be it.

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