I hate the transfer window. There, I've said it.
It's meant to be an exciting opportunity to discover and bring bright shiny new talent to embrace and improve our club.
It's supposed to be a wondrous time where we browse the football world, scouting the good, the fit and the ballsy, to see which ones are right for Sunderland.
The theory being that once we find the right targets, we successfully schmooze, entice and subsequently purchase them for eye-watering amounts of dosh as easily as beating the Mags five times in a row.
The transfer window promises skill, pace, playmakers, commanding central defenders, old-style wingers, and the holy grail of all, proven goal-scorers. It teases us, it dangles undiscovered talent, potential big name signings and international names that we can't pronounce, in front of us like perfectly formed juicy carrots.
It's like window shopping at Harrods with a probable winning lottery ticket in your back pocket.
What it actually delivers in reality is very very different.
The transfer window certainly brings opportunity... opportunity to panic, opportunity to scaremonger, opportunity to fill sports pages with endless made-up bull.
Mostly though, it's an opportunity for agents to flog 'has-been', 'nearly good enough' and 'never going-to-be' players in an over-priced time sensitive market.
My biggest dislike of the transfer window is the hope. Remember when you were a kid at Christmas and your Mam asked you to write a wish list for Santa? So you set off with the grandest plans and no set budget.
You watched wide-eyed at dazzling TV ads, saw eye-catching toy displays in Binns window, read your mams catalogue back to front and eventually, after many weeks of deliberation, came up with a final list of aspirational items that would fulfil your dreams.
Sending that list to Santa you dreamed of what could be. How happy you would be if you got your list, how much it would improve your life, how you could boast to all your friends. It took up endless hours of wishful thinking, comparing, reviewing, expecting.
Basically it brought you optimism for a better future, based entirely on a made-up concept and idealism. But just because we put a Scalextric at the top of our Christmas list it doesn't mean we won't end up with a slinky.That's what the transfer window is to me. It's a conspiracy.
The relentless bombardment of media, agents, supposedly 'in-the-know' websites who promise brand new horizons based on very little fact. Its bullsh*t.
The non-stop conveyor belt of potential saviours of our club, mostly Dutch this season, South Americans before that, Italians before that, whom we are apparently "interested in", "linked with" or "bidding on" do the rounds on a daily basis in press and social media.
Clutching at straws, fans and journalists spend hours of wasted time and energy Googling and Youtubing players they will never actually see play in person, hoping to find a wonder goal or tackle they may have made once in their career.
Probably a youth player, playing in a friendly against third rate opposition in a muddy field. Said goal or tackle is then shared on forums and twitter, with the player hailed as a genius and everyone gets over excited.
Statistics are studied, previous form, age, fitness, all debated to the max, sometimes leading to conflict between fans who think we should and should not sign each proposed player. All of this followed by frustration and anger at lack of the official press release confirming their signature.
All for a player that we will probably NEVER see play in red and white stripes.
Surely life is just too short for this sh*t.
Yes it keeps journalists in jobs, but other than that it is nothing but gossip-mongering, time-wasting, energy sapping, pointless, fact-less drivel which serves no purpose other than to whip fans into a frenzy which more often than not leads to nothing but disappointment.
I'll save my time and energy until I see that photograph taken outside the front doors of the Academy with a scarf helded above his head and a strategically positioned football to announce our (probably many) new arrivals.
And who's to say that if we do get a slinky instead of a Scaletrix, it won't turn out to be the best present we ever got anyway?