It's probably true that the night is darkest before the dawn, but brace yourself...the worst is yet to come. The darkness is not quite pitch for Sunderland AFC in the 2013/2014 Barclays Premier League season.
We have four more home games to sit through for one thing. This is where the dread now lies, with the light only rising from the last high pitched whistle on 11 May to finally shut down the life support. Next season, Sunderland must focus their efforts exorcising this haunted-home dread.
For instance, I did not celebrate Adam Johnson's lovely goal against West Ham United last Monday night. I can't remember ever doing that. I sat with my head in my hands, thinking I cannot believe we're all going mental as we chase Sam Allardyce's ugly dross down to a dramatic 2-2 draw.
This really was THE must win game.
On second thought, Norwich and that unforgiveable performance was probably the relegator, but this might have helped next year's season ticket application.
I'll stop there before my mind spins off in too many tangents, i.e. it's been unfair playing on Monday nights. Why did we setup the same way against West Ham at home as we did the likely champions away? Where is Jack Colback? Why have we never repeated the Cup Final formation? And so on and so forth. I'm sure you've heard it all in more aggressive terms.
It was the West Ham United game that pretty much epitomised a whole host of home games in recent memory though. And that goes all the way back to Sunderland 0, Fulham 1, on Saturday 17 August 2013. Remember that; those happy debates about Cabral, Altidore, Giacherini and the new order of things.
Remember Tom Huddlestone. Would he have changed anything? Or would his game and attitude have been infected like the others. Anyway - these endless SAFC tangents.
Can you imagine if Fabio Borini scored to make it 2-2? I might have stood up and applauded that, before resigning myself to accept that this club is just bat shit crazy. Or maybe just burst out laughing like a mentalist until the stewards came to take me away for scaring people.
I have seen Hammers' fans actually decry Sunderland fans on forums for their lack of faith, using their own example of ineligibility, Carlos Tevez, to beat the 'IT'S NOT OVER YET DRUM!'
It is over by the way. Even if we don't go down (we will). It is over; and thank god for that.
We've finally fallen back to square one in this horrendous game of 21st century football. It's felt like we've all been trapped on a vicious snakes and ladders-based acid trip. Our uniting hope is that slither of light I referred to earlier, is in the (now) intense and pointy eyes of one Gustavo Poyet.
Before this man arrived, and now once again it seems, Sunderland could be likened to a riddled laptop that only responded to a complete shut down and reboot. The only science behind it being: to employ a different man's finger to press the same abominable reset button.
That is, cue the Larsson and Gardener applications blasting off to an emphatic start.
That's what the current problem represents to me, a machine that is predictably out of control with the same bunch of viruses kicking into action about two months after the annual, lately six monthly, reboot.
The most worrying thing of all is that they appear to infect the new hardware that has been installed too. Altidore and Cabral, and poor Giacherini, what could have been?
We can only hope that this new operator, Poyet, has not been the victim of this vicious malware. He seems to display early signs of infection; unpredictable behaviour, rash decision-making, blank stares, outward displays of aggression and tension, and ultimately, indifference and acceptance.
"We need a miracle."
The thing is we don't. We, and I mean we, the 37-odd thousand that drag themselves to the game every weekend need to be patient. Getting chinned by Tottenham Hotspur away after playing near-every single game of the season in the relegation zone is not unlikely, nor is it a disgraceful event.
I know they get paid too much and I know they're all probably indefensible money-framing people, but they're still human, and to play under the pressure of failure every weekend for a year...what else do we expect?!
Why do you think the cup runs happened? The pressure is focused on hope and not failure. Chests get puffed out in hope, unlike in the league where the chest struggles to inflate through the pressure of failure. This rule applies to the fans too by the way.
That's what I put that Hull City cup game down to, the players fresh focus on the league, suddenly the fun was over and the hope had died. The sweet glean of silver-ware had terrifyingly morphed into the reality of Steve Bruce's mush.
The same team beat the illustrious Southampton in the fifth round remember! I think Cattermole and O'Shea were both just knackered thinking about the rest of the season, and in those moments were done by their school boy errors, punished by poorer players than themselves.
Now, going back to the Hammers last Monday and the night all hope died for this season. The players have given up, the fans have had enough and I fear for the remaining set of fixtures.
I want to put forward that no-one at the club is a disgrace like so many football fans like to let spill out of their mouths.
The players are far too nice for that, which in itself is a massive part of the problem. Their frailty and fear has been seized upon game after game by the likes of horrendous individuals like Gabbi Agbonlahor and Kevin Nolan, who have the mental savageness to only ever survive.
For the fans now, we must adopt such a mental fortitude for the rest of the season. We must not let the remaining games get us too down. Let's try and enjoy the scrap and our last games in the Premier League season for a year.
What is the point in those clubs? Do we want to represent what they strive for? It's human nature to survive of course, but nobody wants to just survive!
To finally go back to the computer analogy, let's once and for all get rid of the dread born out of the same common viruses and disappointments. Under the leadership of Gus Poyet and Ellis Short -- both are certainly not infallible - let's give this, our beloved football club the chance of a healthy rebirth.
No more ‘typical Sunderland' please.
Let's start something different and build properly this time, from square one.