We all know what’s happened with Adam Johnson and this at long last brings what has been a year of speculation and uncertainty to a conclusion.
Whether the club could have done more remains debatable and I suspect that will never be definitively answered. It’s easy for us as supporters to sit here and say more could have been done but we don’t know what went on behind the scenes. You just have to make up your own mind based on what we have found out in the last couple of weeks.
What I will say is this; whatever we feel as supporters will be nothing compared to what the victim, who idiolised and loved this sick and twisted man, and Stacey Flounders are going through.
The victim will be suffer from this for a long time and I highly doubt she will ever fully recover from this. But this does at the very least bring some level of closure for what has been a horrible year for her and her family.
Stacey Flounders is also another person who will suffer from this long-term. She stood by him throughout this trial which I think is more than Johnson deserved. Not only did Johnson cheat on her but she will now have to one-day explain to her daughter about what happened and why her father, who should be raising his child, was imprisoned.
Both of these people, more than anyone else, deserve closure and the right to move with their lives.
But as a Sunderland fan, I still feel hurt, lied to and taken advantage of by this as I’m sure many do but it is vitally important that we move on from this and focus on staying in the Premier League.
In light of all this, it makes me so glad that we’ve got a manager as experience as Sam Allardyce because I imagine he won’t let the players dwell on this shocking turn of events. While our Premier League status is uncertain I can’t help but feel we are in good hands in a managerial sense.
Thankfully Newcastle lost at Stoke l(and hopefully continue to lose for the rest of the season – especially on March 20th). This means we’re out of the bottom three on goal difference. I’d give anything for the table to be that way after the final whistle on May the 15th.
Newcastle do have a game in hand, but that game is Manchester City. I’m very mixed on that one because Steve McClaren’s side are decent at home and since Manuel Pellegrini has announced he will be leaving in the summer, City have been woeful. Don’t rule out an upset there.
The 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace is a mixed bag for me. Right now, I’m grateful for Fabio Borini’s late leveler but we shouldn’t have had to earn a draw in the first place. That was a game we were comfortable in for the first sixty minutes and should have at least seen out a win. But Borini’s celebration when he scored might bring out the best in him again and it’s just what he needs.
Looking ahead to Saturday, I’d take a point at Southampton. I know that sounds negative already but if we’re going to win, we must, MUST keep a clean sheet but I’m growing increasingly sick of seeing us concede.
The games that will do it for me are the four afterwards - Newcastle, West Brom, Leicester and Norwich. I’d say all four of those are winnable. We need two wins at the very least. Newcastle and Norwich in particular are the two biggest ones. Considering they’re both away from home it might work in our favour as both teams will feel more pressure from their respective crowds.
One thing is certain - I really pray that Sunderland stay up. After years or promise, uncertainty, underachievement and suffering our fans deserve to see genuine light at the end of a forever-stretching dark tunnel.