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Captain's Blog: Finally A Fighting Sunderland

Sunderland have become synonymous with surrender at the Stadium of Light, but have finally offered a glimmer of hope that things could be about to change.

If you decide that you want to write for a Sunderland blog you kind of have to accept that you're not going to get the chance to be positive all that often.

That's just the way it is, which is why it's nice to finally be able to muster some genuine hope.

Tuesday night's match against Manchester City sadly ended in defeat, but there was finally a Sunderland side on the pitch with which I truly feel I can identify.

Like most, the home form at the Stadium of Light has come to genuinely irritate me over the last few years. It's not so much the losing of games. We haven't had a good team, first and foremost, so we are going to lose matches at this level, and plenty of them.

Your home games should be a source of genuine pride for clubs in England's top flight. Forget the 'best league in the world' nonsense, it's a subjective debate with no winners, but it's a fact that the Premier League is the most-watched in the world.

That means that every other week, the eyes of the world are on you, and not just your team. It's a chance to showcase the club, the ground, the supporters, the heritage... it's an opportunity to show the planet who you are, and what you're about.

And, simply put, all Sunderland have come to showcase during home games in recent times is surrender. Well, except when Newcastle have been in town, obviously.

Yes, of course teams are going to come here and have the quality to beat you. That will always be the case. But, and call me old fashioned if you like, no one should be coming to Sunderland and bullying us off our own pitch.

That is what has become synonymous with the club's home games, though. Week after week, year after year, teams who are bigger and stronger and nastier have been allowed the freedom of OUR turf, OUR home.

On Tuesday, that felt like it had changed. Lamine Kone practically knocked out Yaya Toure. Jan Kirchhoff won headers in areas no one in a Sunderland shirt has for years. The midfield three were strong and committed. Defenders, those not named Billy Jones, at least, were sprinting to be the first to a cleared ball. Wahbi Khazri took all of sixty seconds to put himself about.

This was an assertive Sunderland, a proud Sunderland. It was a Sunderland who, for the first time in god knows how long, you actually felt were relishing a physical battle.

Whether or not it carries on, I don't know. I'm not declaring a corner turned. All I'm saying is I enjoyed watching the manner with which my team defended our home, and it's not something I get to say anywhere near often enough.

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