You're in a frustrating, winless run. The pressure isn't huge yet but it will start to build if things don't turn around soon. What better tonic to cure that ailment that a home game against beatable opposition. Come five o'clock though, you've failed to win again and the pressure ramps up just that little bit more. Who am I talking about? In this instance, it's Steve Bruce, who had just watched his Sunderland team lose 3-2 to West Brom, despite leading twice. I could have been talking about any manager over the past ten years though, couldn't I? Therein lies the problem.
It's well documented how Sunderland have managed to find themselves in relegation scrap after relegation scrap. One thing that has blighted managers throughout that time is the inability to beat the teams around us at home. Not since the days of Roy Keane has the Stadium of Light truly felt like a fortress and the start of things turning sour with managers on Wearside has always been poor results against beatable opposition.
I've mentioned Bruce and his winless spells, but he hasn't been the only one. Bruce's successor, Martin O'Neill, delivered some of the blandest, most sterile football since the SoL opened it's doors, which resulted in draws at home to Fulham & Norwich City before a defeat to Manchester United sealed his fate.
The egocentric tornado that was Paolo Di Canio managed to implode before getting to the same stage but Gus Poyet's meltdown was surrounded by animosity at home. A 2-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers, who hadn't even earned a point away from home all season, and a 0-0 draw against West Brom had the faithful growing restless, as a first collapse versus Aston Villa sealed Poyet's fate.
There were signs that the hoodoo was about to be broken, as Dick Advocaat almost signed off at Sunderland with a win when his side flew out of the blocks into an early 2-0 lead against West Ham. The ghost couldn't be put to rest though and the result was thrown away as the game ended level. Even Sam Allardyce's momentum fuelled lads couldn't defeat Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Brom during the second half of last season.
David Moyes finds himself at a similar crossroads, albeit with much more time to turn things around should things go wrong. What a statement it could be if we gain six points from our next two games though. Perhaps not to the wider footballing world but to us fans, it would represent something resembling progress. Crystal Palace & West Bromwich Albion, two teams who scream "beatable" but have evaded Premier League defeat on Wearside more often than not. The latter and this weekends opposition are, in fact, unbeaten at the Stadium of Light in all Premier League meetings having last tasted defeat here in an FA Cup tie in 2005.
Sunderland fans aren't a demanding bunch. Gates that are regularly north of 40k despite years of struggle will tell you that. The only thing that most supporters come close to demanding is that those 40 odd thousand get to enjoy their home games. Undoubtably there have been some fantastic moments at the SoL over the last five years alone, Chelsea at home last season still gives me goosebumps now, but wouldn't it be great to just go into a game like this and win? Not be lucky to scrape a draw but to actually win?
David Moyes won't be completely judged off these next two games but a win against Palace will put the jury firmly on his side. Three points tomorrow and it may just feel like things aren't going to be the same. Again. Let's break the cycle.