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Captain's Blog: We May Be Bloodied And Battered, But I Didn't Hear No Bell

When all else is lost, some good old fashioned belligerence can go a long way.

Matthew Lewis

One look at the league table tells you that Sunderland can't beat anyone for toffee, yet I am sure I am not the only Sunderland fan who feels like they've taken a merciless yet cruelly calculated beating at the hands of the players this week.

We've had the full house. The talking up of the players we have watched almost exclusively surrender for what feels like years followed by their prompt reuniting in the team, the subsequent abject on-pitch spinelessness and crushing defeat, the confessions of being a soft touch and failing to deliver what the fans 'deserve', the protestations that they are 'hurting' from criticisms...

If they are true to form, then it'll all start again in the coming days. It will surprise no one. Let's face it, even if they do surprise us this week and actually pick up some points, it still won't singularly repair any trust. We are way beyond that at this point.

I've made my position quite clear on the whole situation really: last Saturday stung more than I thought possible given how desensitized I have become to losing games. I see more than enough quality in the squad to stay up, but I worry the fractures through the club are too pronounced and will continue to undermine it.

Since the debacle in South Wales we have all had our say. That is the beauty of the technological age. We have taken to social media, message boards and blogs and voiced our disdain. We have all earned the right too.

But football doesn't pause for self-pity. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing to be honest, but the point is that you can't lament forever. At some point or another, you have to pull yourself to your feet, puff out your chest as best you can, and prepare to face another fight. All you may have is the hope that you land a lucky blow yourself that can turn the tide, but football won't think twice about kicking you just as hard if you stay down, so you'd might as well take your chances.

In fact, this set of especially cruel tyrannical players with which Sunderland are cursed have proven that the more you beg for mercy, the more abuse they will gleefully rain down upon you.

There are certain players I have totally given up on to the point of openly deriding their existence. I had given up on the idea Phil Bardsley ever proving himself to be of any actual use long before he decided to publicly revel in Sunderland's suffering.

He isn't the only one though. I'm sick of Craig Gardner plodding around the pitch with all the urgency of a milk float with a hangover. I'm sick of Seb Larsson's one-man mission to point himself into a coma. I've been waiting for months for Adam Johnson and John O'Shea to prove that they have some heart to go with their pedigree, but I've since adjusted my expectations. Now I'd be delighted with any evidence at all that they are even alive and not cardboard cut-outs.

I don't see any reason why we should be lumbered with entrusting our chances to them in all honesty. I accept an argument that they are the experienced players, I just don't see what they are doing to justify their shirts. If Gus Poyet turned to players like Andrea Dossena, Mobido Diakite and Charis Mavrias, it's not like they could do any worse. It's not like there is anything at all to lose.

Yet it appears that the old guard are the ones we are lumbered with, at least for the time being. Like it or lump it, they are the ones who continue hold Sunderland's future hostage and so they are the ones who we need to get on the same page as. It's sickening, but it is what it is. No matter how inept they are, my disdain for them will never overpower my desire to see the club succeed. That, I suppose, is the real curse of the supporter.

So it's probably time to get up off the canvas and get ready to go again. I fully expect I'll be back down here again in a few days time, battered, bruised and bloodied and staring up at the same old multimillionaires who put me here crying about how they're hurting. Sorry if my selfish back bloodied your knife, lads. I feel just terrible about my nasty face stinging your poor fists.

But I'm still going to choose to believe that Sunderland can win enough games between now and the end of May. Why? Because these players have given me a front-row seat to cowardice for long enough to know that getting to my feet despite them would be considerably more respectable than surrendering with them.

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