To say I've been constantly deflated throughout the opening two months of the season would be an understatement.
We seem to have waded from one disaster to another without any sort of glimmer that there might be an upturn in our fortunes. I'm sure many of you reading this can relate - it hasn't been an easy few months to be a Sunderland supporter.
Wherever disharmony lies there is often the need to blame, and rightly or wrongly a lot of that has been directed towards our manager, David Moyes. Naturally, he's the public 'leader' of our football club and when things are going wrong he's usually going to be the one to get it in the neck. It's no different to the way that any other fan base at any other football club reacts - if we aren't seeing results in football matches on the pitch, we'll usually target our frustrations towards the man that is picking the team.
In truth, just about everyone involved at the football club is a part of the problem - and the solution.
See, I don't think anyone can deny that David Moyes could do with being a little more positive. After all, we hang on his every word in his press conferences and often what he tells us can make or break the mood of our fan base heading into the game. I've no doubt what he says rubs off on the players, too - they're going to want to have their egos massaged and be told that they're great. Sometimes it's a case of give and take - Moyes can't 'lead them by hand' as he put it this weekend, but he can certainly improve the harmony within the camp. There's enough recent evidence to suggest that this group of players are capable of performing when morale is good. We saw it only four months ago with our own eyes.
With that too, the players have to take some ownership and bring it upon themselves to start improving our fortunes on the pitch. We lost experience when Wes Brown, Steve Harper and Younes Kaboul left the club this summer and I have no doubt that Sam Allardyce made a point of surrounding his dressing room with big personalities that can have a positive influence on the other players. That said, others within the team now need to step up and fill the voids left behind. People like Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kone and Jermain Defoe all have the opportunity to bring the squad together ahead of some tough games, and it's that which is sorely lacking both on and off the pitch.
Us as supporters can always do more too, especially us at Roker Report - we're very fortunate that this website gives us a platform and a stage to make our voices heard. I tore into the players and the manager in my Player Ratings and Quick Kicks pieces this week because I felt they had let us down - if you're being fair in your critique then its very hard to argue with, and maybe sometimes your heart rules your head, but I'll always stand by my word.
You won't always agree with what is written on these pages but quite often (not always, of course - we only speak for ourselves and never claim otherwise) what is being said is generally reflective of the overall mood of the fanbase - last week, for example, we were all fairly chirpy in the wake of the QPR game and felt that by winning the cup tie midweek we then had a platform to go on and beat Crystal Palace. Since losing on Saturday though, our writers have been down in the dumps and fed up with the way that the team on the pitch just folded under pressure, an aggravation that was merely compounded by the fact that we had the win in the palm of our hands and allowed our opponents to snatch it so easily.
The news today regarding Sam Allardyce and his position with the FA has allowed me some time to reflect upon what Sunderland now do going forward. People will flippantly call to have our now-former manager re-instated should his short time as England manager come to an end but the fact of the matter is that it just isn't as simple as that. Any good that Sam Allardyce did at this football club has been tarnished by the way in which he forced his move away and, for me, all of that good feeling has now gone. Sam has to live by the decisions that he has made in recent months and that just doesn't concern Sunderland any longer. He's no longer our problem.
We already have a manager, and his name is David Moyes. Love him or hate him, we really need this relationship to work and the only way that will happen is if we all get back on the same page, much like when Allardyce guided us to safety back in May. For the first time in forever it felt like Sunderland was a united club again and we achieved results on the pitch as part of that. In truth, the squad we have now isn't a kick in the arse off the one that Allardyce worked with, albeit certain players performed far better then than they have done so far this season.
As I said earlier, all parties can do better. If we find a way to recapture that positive feeling and start picking up good results, we'll all be happy. The only way you can get on any sort of run is if everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
With West Brom to play on Saturday we are at the stage now where this game feels like it is a must win - it almost seems stupid saying it - and in order to get three points the supporters, the players and the manager all need to quickly get back on the same page, whether we agree on everything or not.
If we do, Sunderland stands a chance of being a top flight club again next season.
- Bob Murray, Legacy and The Failed Dueteronomy of North East Football
- How Much Does Moyes Remind You Of Advocaat?
- Wise Men Say: Question Of The Week
- Bowers' Blog: 27/09/2016 - Januzaj Has Been Underwhelming; Is Khazri Really Worse?!
- Quick Kicks: Moyes Needs To Stop Finger Pointing & Shoulder The Blame